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

NIK, -1.25%

  retreated 1.2% and the Kospi

SEU, -1.59%

  in South Korea tumbled 1.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng

HSI, -1.84%

  gave up 1.5% while the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -0.82%

  was 0.6% lower.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, +0.22%

  bucked the regional trend, picking up 0.1% to 6,062.30. Shares fell Taiwan

Y9999, -0.10%

  and throughout Southeast Asia.

Among individual stocks, Dai-ichi Life Holdings

8750, -5.01%

  slumped in Tokyo trading, as did SoftBank Group

9984, -3.33%

 and Honda

7267, -2.27%

 . Casino operators Galaxy Entertainment

0027, -5.16%

  and Sands China

1928, -4.41%

  fell in Hong Kong, along with tech companies such as AAC

2018, -5.49%

  and Sunny Optical

2382, -4.17%

 . Samsung

005930, -3.58%

  and chip maker SK Hynix

000660, -4.13%

  dropped in Korea, and Foxconn

2354, -0.98%

  slipped in Taiwan. Energy stocks rose in Australia, led by Beach Energy

BPT, +2.44%

  and Woodside Petroleum

WPL, +1.80%


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.

Read: China’s inflation slows even more in January

“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.

Also see: China hopes vow to buy more U.S. goods, including semiconductors, can help end trade war

The broad S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.27%

  dropped 0.3% to 2,745.73. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite

COMP, +0.09%

  added 0.1% to 7,426.95 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.41%

  lost 0.4% to 25,439.39.

U.S. crude

CLJ9, +0.46%

  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

LCOJ9, +0.57%

 , 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.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.15%

  eased to 110.30 yen from 110.45 yen late Thursday.

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