By Associated Press and Marketwatch
Asian markets tumbled on Friday after President Donald Trump said he doesn’t plan to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping before a tariffs truce ends in March.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.96% , reopening after a Lunar New Year break, gave up 0.2%. The Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.81% in South Korea closed down 1.2% and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.15% lost 0.3%.
Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +3.53% fell in Hong Kong trading, as did CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +2.96% and CSPC Pharmaceutical /zigman2/quotes/200847219/delayed HK:1093 +3.00% , while AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +5.93% , Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +7.31% and AIA Group /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 +4.19% gained. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.74% slid in Korea, and Australian energy stocks, such as Santos /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -1.58% , Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -3.75% and Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -2.72% tumbled.
Stocks fell in Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +1.39% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.02% , but were flat in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +1.56% . Markets in China and Taiwan were closed.
On Thursday, Trump did not dismiss the possibility of meeting Xi in the next month or so. But he shook his head and said no when reporters asked if the meeting would take place before March 2. That marks the end of a 90-day tariffs truce mooted after Trump and Xi met in December.
Unless American and Chinese negotiators come to a new agreement, the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10% to 25% for $200 billion in Chinese goods. The trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies, which has cooled in recent months, has weighed on the outlook of businesses and the global economy.
“The worries surround the uncertainties of a resolution to the likelihood of further tariffs in this on-again, off-again confidence with regards to a deal,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a delegation to Beijing next week for the next round of trade talks. Officials have reported little progress on contentious issues but remain hopeful that a deal will be struck.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.27% closed down 2%. On Friday, Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.19% announced its first 100 billion yen ($911.2 million) share buyback for 2.36% of its Tokyo-listed stock. Its shares closed up 4%. Meanwhile, Nikon /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +1.83% plunged and auto makers such as Toyota /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +2.14% and Honda /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.63% slipped.
On Wall Street, stocks closed lower Thursday following a sell-off by technology companies, health care stocks and banks. Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +2.68% plunged almost 10% after issuing a weak forecast. The broad S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.01% shed 0.9% to 2,706.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.03% was 0.9% lower at 25,169.53 and the Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.30% slid 1.2% to 7,288.35.
U.S. crude lost 29 cents to $52.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped $1.37 to settle at $52.64 per barrel in New York. Brent crude , used to price international oils, rose 5 cents to $61.67 per barrel. It fell $1.06 to close at $61.63 per barrel in London.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0477% weakened to 109.76 yen from 109.82 yen late Thursday.