Asian stock markets were little changed in cautious early trading Wednesday, as lingering trade tensions weighed on traders.

China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, said Tuesday on Fox News that “the door is still open” to resuming trade negotiations with the U.S., although no new talks are scheduled. Tensions have ramped up over the past week, though were tempered slightly Monday by reports that the Trump administration will offer 90-day exemptions for some U.S. companies doing business with Huawei Technologies.

Japan’s Nikkei

NIK, +0.08%

  gained 0.3%, as data showed exports fell for a fifth straight month in April. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +0.10%

  inched up 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -0.58%

  edged down 0.1% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite

399106, -0.82%

  slipped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi

180721, +0.38%

  was about flat, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan

Y9999, -0.07%

  , Singapore

STI, +0.07%

  and Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.32%

  posted only slight movement. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, +0.15%

  was about flat.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group

9984, -0.65%

  rose in Tokyo trading while Suzuki Motor

7269, -5.59%

  tumbled. In Hong Kong, casino operator Sands China

1928, +2.51%

  gained while China Mobile

941, -1.16%

  slipped. SK Hynix

000660, -1.56%

  slid in South Korea while chip-making rival Taiwan Semiconductor

2330, +1.71%

  jumped in Taiwan. Westpac

WBC, +0.96%

  gained but Fortescue Metals

FMG, -1.25%

  fell in Australia.

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2019-05-21