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ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Retreat As Trade Tensions Ratchet Back Up

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10/08/2019 | 10:53pm EST

By Marketwatch and Associated Press

Nikkei, Hang Seng pull back as U.S. targets Chinese companies, officials

Asian markets slipped in early trading Wednesday amid growing pessimism over U.S.-China trade talks scheduled later this week.

Late Monday, the U.S. blacklisted 28 Chinese companies , including artificial-intelligence companies because of their alleged role in human-rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minority. And Tuesday, the U.S. announced visa restrictions against Chinese officials believed involved in abuses if Uighurs. Bloomberg News also reported the Trump administration may move to cap the flow of U.S. capital into Chinese companies.

In response, China's Commerce Ministry issued a statement saying the U.S. should "stop interfering" in its internal affairs. "China will also take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard China's own interests," a Commerce Ministry spokesperson said, according to CNBC (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/08/china-strongly-urges-us-to-remove-sanctions-and-stop-accusing-it-of-human-rights-violations.html).

"With the recent U.S. trade war escalation headlines . . . it suggests from President Trump's perspective that at this stage of the election process a trade deal this week, will not offer up a significant enough policy victory that he needs to bolster his polling numbers against the gale-force economic and political headwinds he's facing stateside," Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note. "So, it's back on the trade-war offensive. Frankly, it's incredible how my times the markets get sucked back into the trade-war calm only to end up back in trade-war purgatory."

Japan's Nikkei fell 0.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index retreated 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite inched up slightly, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite was about flat. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia were largely down. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.8%. South Korea's Kospi was closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank fell in Tokyo trading, along with oil producer Inpex and e-commerce company Rakuten . In Hong Kong, Hang Seng Bank fell, as did Apple component maker Sunny Optical and casino operator Galaxy Entertainment . Foxconn declined in Taiwan and in Australia, Beach Energy and BHP fell.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BEACH ENERGY LIMITED 1.24% 2.45 End-of-day quote.78.44%
BHP GROUP -0.22% 37.1 End-of-day quote.8.97%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.17% 2914.82 End-of-day quote.16.69%
FOXCONN TECHNOLOGY CO LTD End-of-day quote.
GALAXY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LIMITED 1.42% 53.7 End-of-day quote.7.72%
HANG SENG 0.49% 27032.97 Real-time Quote.4.08%
HANG SENG BANK LIMITED 0.06% 165.3 End-of-day quote.-6.29%
INPEX CORPORATION -0.05% 1063 End-of-day quote.9.96%
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX 0.09% 2136.55 Real-time Quote.4.56%
NIKKEI 225 0.81% 23520.01 Real-time Quote.16.87%
RAKUTEN, INC. -1.81% 978 End-of-day quote.37.17%
S&P/ASX 200 -0.29% 6753 Real-time Quote.19.09%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. -0.60% 4274 End-of-day quote.-38.99%
SUNNY OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY (GROUP) COMPANY LIMITED -1.19% 124.9 End-of-day quote.79.45%
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