Asian shares slip, Europe mixed amid US-China trade tensions

TOKYO (AP) – Asian shares slipped yesterday while European indexes were mixed in early trading following a drop on Wall Street amid pessimism over United States (US)-China trade tensions.

France’s CAC 40 was little changed in early trading, inching up less than 0.1 per cent to 5,789.52. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 per cent to 13,051.96. Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.3 per cent to 7,261.43. US shares were set to strengthen, with Dow futures gaining 0.1 per cent to 27,829. S&P 500 futures added nearly 0.2 per cent to 3,119.90.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.6 per cent to finish at 23,379.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slid 2.2 per cent to 6,712.30. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.4 per cent to 2,084.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent to 26,391.30, while the Shanghai Composite recovered earlier losses to inch up 0.3 per cent to 2,884.70.

Technology companies led a broad slide for stocks on Wall Street on Monday, handing the market a downbeat start to the month after it notched strong gains in November.

Trade tensions flared after China retaliated for US support of protesters in Hong Kong, putting investors in a selling mood. Asian regional markets are generally hurt by declines in trade and the slowdown in the Chinese economy that might cause.

Specialist James Denaro works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

Investors have been hoping that the world’s two biggest economies can make progress toward at least staving off new tariffs scheduled for December 15 on USD160 billion worth of Chinese products, including smartphones and laptops. Negotiations on ending the longstanding trade war could face a tougher path this month following the flareup over Hong Kong.

China said on Monday it will suspend US military ship and aircraft visits Hong Kong. It also plans to sanction several American pro-democracy groups in retaliation for the passage of legislation supporting monthslong anti-government protests.

The law, signed last Wednesday by US President Donald Trump, mandates sanctions on officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favourable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil gained 28 cents to USD56.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 79 cents to USD55.96 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 21 cents to USD61.13 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to JPY109.10 from JPY109.00 on Monday. The euro was unchanged at USD1.1080.