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May 23, 2019

Markets I Asia Markets Closing Report I China shares tumble amid trade jitters

Eustance Huang

Asia markets declined on Thursday as investors worried about the ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China.
Mainland Chinese shares slipped on the day, as the Shanghai composite declined 1.36% to about 2,852.52 and the Shenzhen component fell 2.56% to 8,809.53. The Shenzhen composite also dropped 2.432% to approximately 1,503.37.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.73%, as of its final hour of trading.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.62% to close at 21,151.14. Shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group plunged 5.3% after sources told Reuters that U.S. Justice Department staff have recommended blocking a deal between T-Mobile and rival Sprint. The Topix index also shed 0.36% to finish the trading day at 1,540.58.
In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.26% to close at 2,059.59, while Australia’s ASX 200 declined 0.29% to finish its trading day at 6,491.80.
Over in India, the Nifty 50 rose 0.7% after earlier hitting a new record high as vote counting was underway following the country’s national elections. Most exit polls have pointed to incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition securing a majority.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21151.14-132.23-0.62
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI27267.13-438.81-1.58
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2006491.80-18.90-0.29
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI2059.59-5.27-0.26
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007675.95-78.51-1.01
Huawei suppliers tumble
Investors also continued to watch out for developments surrounding Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the U.S.
Shares of Huawei suppliers took a hit on Thursday amid the ongoing fallout.
In Taiwan, contract manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry — commonly known as Foxconn — and chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company both fell more than 3%. In Hong Kong, smartphone camera module and lens manufacturer Sunny Optical saw its stock plummet more than 7%, while Luxshare dropped 5.97% in Shenzhen.
“Given Huawei’s size and integral role in global supply chains, the consequences of US moves against the Chinese firm could be material, particularly if the dispute escalates,” analysts at Investec Asset Management wrote in a note.
US-China trade
Overnight on Wall Street, shares slipped as investors kept an eye on developments between Beijing and Washington amid a recent escalation in trade tensions.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC’s Ylan Mui on Wednesday that a trip to Beijing to resume trade negotiations has not been scheduled yet, reducing hopes of a speedy resolution to the trade war.
“The rhetoric really has gone up very significantly in the past couple of weeks, obviously not just on the U.S.′ side ... but also the China rhetoric, you know, coming out from policy circles and obviously now from the president as well,” Steve Brice, chief investment strategist at Standard Chartered Private Bank, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It’s not that this cannot be solved, right? It can be, but the rhetoric is picking up and that’s making it harder, I think, to strike a deal in the short term,” Brice said.
Currencies and oil
Meanwhile, minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s May meeting indicated the central bank will not make any moves regarding interest rates “for some time ” even if the economy improves.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.217 after dipping momentarily below 98.0 yesterday.
The Japanese yen, seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 110.18 against the dollar after strengthening from levels beyond 110.5 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.6868 after touching an earlier high of $0.6882.
Oil prices declined during afternoon trading hours in Asia, with the Brent crude futures contract slipping 0.89% to $70.36 per barrel and U.S. crude futures sliding 0.65% to $61.03 per barrel.
— Reuters and CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

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