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June 14, 2019, 9:30 a.m. EDT

Asian markets fall on weak China data, geopolitical jitters

China data shows further cooling in May

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By Marketwatch and Associated Press


Reuters
Skyscrapers at Hong Kong's central business district are seen during sunset on Thursday.

Asian markets largely fell on Friday, dented by weak China economic data and as geopolitical tensions rose after apparent attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, through Iran rejected those claims, as tensions grew in the Persian Gulf. Late Thursday, the U.S. said it had evidence that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removed an unexploded mine from a tanker, suggesting Iran tried to hide evidence of its involvement.

Benchmark U.S. crude   and Brent crude oil had a choppy session Friday after making hefty gains Thursday.

Geopolitical tensions were simmering elsewhere, as Hong Kong remained on edge in the aftermath of violent clashes between police and protesters earlier this week. Protests against a proposed extradition law continued, though were noticeably more subdued, while the prospect of further protests over the weekend loomed large.

And there were fresh threats from the U.S. that President Donald Trump may raise tariffs against China if President Xi Jinping doesn’t meet with him at the G-20 summit in Japan later this month. On Thursday, a group of American companies, including Walmart Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT -0.38%   and Target Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite TGT +2.42%  , sent a letter to Trump urging him make a trade deal and end the tariff war.

That’s as data showed business activities cooled further in China in May, with a marked slowdown in industrial output and investment.

Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.36% finished up 0.4%, but was one the few gaining indexes in the region. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.03%   fell 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.15%  dropped nearly 1%.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.17%  retreated 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.65% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.15%   and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.85% all reflected mild to moderate losses. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.79%  managed a 0.1% gain.

Among individual stocks, Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.54%   rose in Tokyo trading, along with Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -2.27%   and Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +0.30%   . In Hong Kong, PetroChina /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -1.81%   gained while AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -1.54%   and Wharf Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed HK:1997 -1.27%   fell. LG Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -0.32%   slid in South Korea, and Foxconn /zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed TW:2354 0.00%  advanced in Taiwan. Oil Search /zigman2/quotes/204702973/delayed AU:OSH -2.76%   and Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +1.01%   gained in Australia.

Gains in energy and internet companies helped drive stocks broadly higher on Wall Street overnight, snapping a two-day losing streak for the market in an otherwise choppy week of trading.

Investors have been searching for direction as they cautiously await any new developments on the global trade war between the U.S. and China. Any continued escalations could crimp global economic growth and halt what is poised to be the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.

The market is also looking ahead to next week’s meeting of policyholders of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell set off a market rally after he signaled that the central bank is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the trade war between Washington and Beijing starts to crimp growth.

The suspected attacks in the Strait of Hormuz come amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. One third of all oil traded by sea, which amounts to 20% of oil traded worldwide, passes through the strait. The U.S. blamed Iran in what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions” in a region crucial to global energy supplies.

Economists Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal said in their report for ING that the market tone for the day was “wait and watch.”

“Setting the mixed tone for markets today, escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Gulf region counters the positive investor sentiment from rising expectations of the U.S. Fed easing,” the report said.

/zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 123.47
-0.47 -0.38%
Volume: 6.75M
June 3, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
23.48
Dividend Yield
1.75%
Market Cap
$349.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$223,654
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/zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 121.73
+2.88 +2.42%
Volume: 5.82M
June 3, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
22.56
Dividend Yield
2.17%
Market Cap
$60.87 billion
Rev. per Employee
$209,322
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
22,695.21
+81.45 +0.36%
Volume: 0.00
June 4, 2020 2:47p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
24,319.33
-6.29 -0.03%
Volume: 1.08M
June 4, 2020 1:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
2,918.88
-4.49 -0.15%
Volume: 17.22B
June 4, 2020 1:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,150.67
+3.67 +0.17%
Volume: 1.26M
June 4, 2020 2:47p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
11,393.23
+73.07 +0.65%
Volume: 0.00
June 4, 2020 1:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed
SG : Singapore: SGX
2,704.52
+4.13 +0.15%
Volume: 0.00
June 4, 2020 1:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed
ID : Indonesia Stock Exchange
4,983.19
+42.18 +0.85%
Volume: 0.00
June 4, 2020 11:30a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,988.50
+46.90 +0.79%
Volume: 962,350
June 4, 2020 3:47p
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/zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 7,261.00
+110.00 +1.54%
Volume: 7.04M
June 4, 2020 2:47p
P/E Ratio
15.76
Dividend Yield
0.62%
Market Cap
¥8725.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥72.37M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 756.60
-17.60 -2.27%
Volume: 8.71M
June 4, 2020 2:47p
P/E Ratio
9.53
Dividend Yield
3.17%
Market Cap
¥1105.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥291.81M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 63,730.00
+190.00 +0.30%
Volume: 1.02M
June 4, 2020 2:47p
P/E Ratio
43.73
Dividend Yield
0.75%
Market Cap
¥6303.60 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥40.83M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 2.72
-0.05 -1.81%
Volume: 40.46M
June 4, 2020 1:51p
P/E Ratio
22.61
Dividend Yield
5.76%
Market Cap
HK$506.97 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$5.32M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 41.55
-0.65 -1.54%
Volume: 6.90M
June 4, 2020 1:51p
P/E Ratio
20.05
Dividend Yield
0.96%
Market Cap
HK$50.76 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$411,637
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 31.20
-0.40 -1.27%
Volume: 2.12M
June 4, 2020 1:50p
P/E Ratio
24.11
Dividend Yield
6.51%
Market Cap
HK$95.94 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$5.68M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed
KR : S. Korea: KRX
61,900.00
-200.00 -0.32%
Volume: 798,909
June 4, 2020 2:47p
P/E Ratio
22.94
Dividend Yield
1.21%
Market Cap
₩11182.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed
TW : Taiwan
NT$ 55.20
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 3.49M
June 4, 2020 1:30p
P/E Ratio
11.47
Dividend Yield
4.53%
Market Cap
NT$78.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
NT$888.52M
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/zigman2/quotes/204702973/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 3.52
-0.10 -2.76%
Volume: 12.47M
June 4, 2020 3:47p
P/E Ratio
12.00
Dividend Yield
4.01%
Market Cap
$7.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.46M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 98.40
+0.98 +1.01%
Volume: 1.54M
June 4, 2020 3:47p
P/E Ratio
14.03
Dividend Yield
6.68%
Market Cap
$157.44 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.14M
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