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ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Close Flat To Lower Amid New Worries From North Korea

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05/16/2018 | 11:42am CEST

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Mike Murphy

Japan snaps streak of economic growth, North Korea threatens to cancel summit

Asian stock markets largely finished lower or little changed on Wednesday, after disappointing economic data from Japan and ominous threats from North Korea.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.4% after data showed the country's economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time since late 2015, snapping the longest stretch of economic growth in 28 years. The economy shrank 0.6%, government data said, thanks largely to weak private consumption and business investment.

Banking, metals and energy stocks led the declines, with shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Groupdropping 2%.

Markets were also put on edge after North Korea issued two separate threats to cancel the upcoming summit with President Donald Trump. Rising Treasury yields in the U.S. also worried investors. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed to match its highest levels since 2011 early Tuesday.

In South Korea, the Kospi index inched up 0.1%, helped by gains for tech giant Samsung Electronics . Stocks were lower in Hong Kong , Shanghai and Singapore .

Australian stocks rose slightly, with banking and energy shares leading the way.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slumped 1.8%, hurt by a 14% tumble for a2 Milk Co. Ltd. (ATM.NZ) , which missed forecasts and guided lower on revenue.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
A2 MILK COMPANY LTD --End-of-day quote.
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX 0.32% 2333.19 Real-time Quote.-5.20%
MITSUBISHI UFJ FINANCIAL GROUP INC 1.12% 722.1 End-of-day quote.-14.19%
NIKKEI 225 0.82% 23869.93 Real-time Quote.4.85%
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD --End-of-day quote.
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