Asian markets fell — though were last above session lows — on Tuesday after the U.S. Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against China’s Huawei, its subsidiaries and a top executive ahead of trade talks.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index

NIK, -0.41%

  slipped 0.7% and the Kospi

SEU, -0.27%

  in South Korea shed 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index

HSI, -0.59%

 was 0.5% lower and the Shanghai Composite index

SHCOMP, -0.50%

  fell 0.5%. Australia’s S&P ASX 200

XJO, -0.52%

 , reopening after a holiday, eased 0.4%. Stocks fell in Taiwan

Y9999, -1.09%

  and Singapore

STI, -0.56%

  but rose in Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.37%

 .

Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group

9984, +0.67%

 , Sony

6758, -0.71%

  and Nintendo

7974, +0.33%

  declined in Tokyo trading. Samsung

005930, -0.11%

  and steel maker Posco

005490, -0.93%

  slipped in South Korea. Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment

0027, +0.69%

  and Apple supplier AAC

2018, +0.94%

  rose in Hong Kong, while Geely Automobile

0175, -4.85%

  and oil producer CNOOC

0883, -3.37%

  fell. Taiwan Semiconductor

2330, -2.84%

  tumbled after reports that a chemical defect had damaged its production.

U.S. stocks fell Monday on signs that slowing Chinese growth was affecting corporate America. Caterpillar

CAT, -9.13%

 , considered an economic bellwether, reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018. The company said it expects the growth of construction equipment sales in China to be flat this year. Chipmaker Nvidia

NVDA, -13.82%

  slashed its fourth-quarter revenue estimate, citing slowing demand in China among other reasons. The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.78%

  lost 0.8% to 2,643.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.84%

  was down 0.8% at 24,528.22 and the Nasdaq composite

COMP, -1.11%

  gave up 1.1% to 7,085.68.

The U.S. criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei allege that it violated U.S. sanctions by using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran. The company is also accused of stealing trade secrets, including technology behind a robotic device that T-Mobile

TMUS, -1.26%

  used to test smartphones. Several of Huawei’s subsidiaries and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou were to also face criminal charges. Meng was arrested while changing flights in Canada last month. China has demanded her release and warned of retaliation against American and Canadian executives.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a briefing Monday that President Donald Trump is set to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington. Negotiators from both countries are expected to sit down for two days of trade talks starting Wednesday. While a meeting with Trump may show that the U.S. is serious about striking a deal, charges against Huawei could cast a cloud over negotiations going forward.

Charges against Huawei “illustrate the risks attached to the U.S.-China relationship,” DBS Group Research strategists Philip Wee and Eugene Leow said in a commentary. “The actions by the DOJ show that it would not be enough for China to buy more U.S. goods. America wants China to make structural reforms especially on its intellectual property practices,” they added.

Benchmark U.S. crude

CLH9, +0.23%

  added 20 cents to $52.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped $1.70 to settle at $51.99 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude

LCOH9, +0.12%

 , used to price international oils, rose 15 cents to $59.96 per barrel. It lost $1.78 to $59.81 per barrel in London.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.06%

  was trading at 109.12 yen down from 109.35 yen late Monday.

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2019-01-28