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Nov. 23, 2018, 6:52 a.m. EST

China stocks fall, led by tech names as trade worries fester

Weak oil prices also pressure Asian indexes

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Reports that U.S. trying to sway its allies from using Huawei products

Chinese stocks fell Friday, with investors jittery ahead of next week’s U.S./China trade talks, and with technology names under pressure over a report that the U.S. has been pressuring foreign allies to avoid doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co.

Not helping sentiment, oil prices  fell and U.S. stock futures  indicated a lower open for Friday’s holiday-shortened session on Wall Street, which was closed for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday Friday.

The Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) fell 2.5%, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106) tumbled 3.6%. A report in The Wall Street Journal that said the U.S. has been trying to persuade its foreign allies to avoid using China’s Huawei Technologies Co.’s telecoms equipment, citing cybersecurity concerns.

Telecom and tech stocks bore the brunt of losses, with Foxconn Industrial internet Co. (SHG:CN:601138)  down nearly 5%, Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co. (SHG:CN:600804) off over 6.8% and ZTE Corp.  (SHE:CN:000063)  down 3.3%.

News of pressure over Huawei comes just ahead of trade talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Argentina next week.

“Realistically the best that we are going to see from the G-20 is an agreement by the U.S. and China to keep talking. The trade tension story has moved past the point of a quick resolution. We expect this risk to continue to be a theme in 2019 which will continue to weigh on appetite for riskier assets,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note to clients.

U.S. officials warned Americans not to buy Huawei devices in February, saying they could be used to spy on users. Earlier this year, lawmakers introduced the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which would ban government agencies from using equipment from ZTE and Huawei.

Losses were more measured in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI)  eased 0.4%. Elsewhere, the South Korea Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721) fell 0.6%, while Taiwan stocks slipped 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) rose 0.4%.

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