Asian shares were broadly lower on Friday, tracking a weak Wall Street session as traders awaited the conclusion of U.S.-China talks in Beijing.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225
retreated 1.2% and the Kospi
in South Korea tumbled 1.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
gave up 1.5% while the Shanghai Composite
was 0.6% lower.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
bucked the regional trend, picking up 0.1% to 6,062.30. Shares fell Taiwan
and throughout Southeast Asia.
Among individual stocks, Dai-ichi Life Holdings
slumped in Tokyo trading, as did SoftBank Group
. Casino operators Galaxy Entertainment
and Sands China
fell in Hong Kong, along with tech companies such as AAC
and Sunny Optical
and chip maker SK Hynix
dropped in Korea, and Foxconn
slipped in Taiwan. Energy stocks rose in Australia, led by Beach Energy
and Woodside Petroleum
Disappointing data led U.S indexes to a mixed finish on Thursday. According to the Commerce Department, December retail sales fell 1.2% from the previous month, its biggest drop since September 2009.
The National Retail Federation also announced poor holiday sales growth in November-December that it attributed to trade tensions with China and the U.S. government shutdown.
“The market is in a defensive stance. Traders are wondering if the latest retail sales figures are a harbinger of more bad news to come,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.
American and Chinese officials will wrap up two days of negotiations in Beijing later Friday. It is unclear if they will make headway on prickly issues such as Washington’s unhappiness over Chinese technology and trade policies.
The U.S. is set to more than double import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods by March 2. But President Donald Trump has hinted that he may hold off on these if both sides made enough progress at the trade talks.
The broad S&P 500 index
dropped 0.3% to 2,745.73. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite
added 0.1% to 7,426.95 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 0.4% to 25,439.39.
added 34 cents to $54.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 51 cents to settle at $54.41 per barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, rose 44 cents to $65.01 per barrel. It rose 96 cents to close at $64.57 per barrel in London.
eased to 110.30 yen from 110.45 yen late Thursday.
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