Home Business Asian markets retreat on mixed trade-war news – MarketWatch

Asian markets retreat on mixed trade-war news – MarketWatch

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Shares were mixed in a narrow range in Asia on Monday, with markets in China heading into a national holiday.

Chinese manufacturing data was slightly better than analysts’ estimates, helping to boost sentiment. But the downbeat mood on Wall Street on Friday carried over into Monday’s trading.

Nikkei

NIK, -0.56%

  fell 0.8%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +0.53%

  rose 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -0.92%

 slipped 0.4% while the Shenzhen Composite

399106, -1.06%

  declined 0.6% ahead of the National Day holiday, which will shut Chinese markets until Oct. 8. South Korea’s Kospi

180721, +0.64%

  rose 0.5% while benchmark indexes in Singapore

STI, -0.28%

  and Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.60%

  declined. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, -0.41%

  was flat.

Hong Kong got a boost from reassuring comments by the chief executive of its monetary authority.

Norman Chan Tak-lam, who is stepping down, said that despite the past several months of political protest, “the monetary system that means the exchange rate, the banking system and the financial system, have remained stable, and they have been continue to function normally and smoothly.”

Two gauges of Chinese factory activity improved in September ahead of a round of trade talks with Washington.

Surveys released Monday by an industry group and a business magazine both showed improvement, though the gains were small.

Demand for Chinese goods has been hurt by weakening domestic and global economic growth as well as U.S. tariff hikes in a fight over trade and technology. Negotiators are due to meet next month in Washington but there has been no sign of progress toward ending the dispute.

China said Sunday that its top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, will travel to Washington on October for renewed trade negotiations with the U.S. An exact date for the talks was not announced, but a senior Chinese official said “The two sides should find a solution through equal dialogue in accordance with the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, reports emerged about possible White House plans to restrict U.S. investment in Chinese companies. U.S. Treasury officials on Saturday denied any plans to do so “at this time,” but also did not rule them out, leaving analysts and investors to wonder if it was a negotiating tactic or a signal of a much harder line by the Trump administration.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank

9984, -2.62%

  fell in Tokyo trading, along with Toyota

7203, -2.08%

 and Screen Holdings

7735, -3.19%

 . In Hong Kong, PetroChina

857, +1.77%

  and China Mobile

941, +1.33%

  rose, and Budweiser APAC — the Asian spinoff from beer-maker Anheuser-Busch InBev — opened higher in its massive initial public offering. LG Electronics

066570, +1.05%

  and SK Hynix

000660, +0.98%

  gained in South Korea, while Rio Tinto

RIO, +1.17%

  gained in Australia.

Wall Street capped a choppy week with a second straight weekly loss for the S&P 500 Friday as worries about a potential escalation in the trade war between the U.S. and China erased early gains.

Technology companies led the broad slide as investors weighed reports about possible White House plans to restrict U.S. investment in Chinese companies. U.S. Treasury officials on Saturday denied any plans to do so “at this time,” but also did not rule them out, leaving analysts and investors to wonder if it was a negotiating tactic or a signal of a much harder line by the Trump administration.

Uncertainty over the long-running trade war has fueled volatility in the market and stoked worries that the impact of tariffs and other tactics employed by the countries against each other is hampering U.S. economic and corporate profit growth.

The possibility that the U.S. is weighing another way of applying pressure on China dampened investors’ already cautious optimism that the world’s two biggest economies might make progress as their representatives resume their negotiations.

The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.53%

 fell 0.5% to 2,961.79. The benchmark index finished the week with a 1% loss. Even so, it remains 2.1% below its all-time high set in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.26%

 dropped 0.3% to 26,820.25. The Nasdaq

COMP, -1.13%

 , which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, lost 1.1% to 7,939.63.

Investors also shifted money out of smaller company stocks, pulling the Russell 2000 index

RUT, -0.84%

 down 12.85 points, or 0.8%, to 1,520.48.

Benchmark crude oil

CLX19, -0.66%

  rose 13 cents to $56.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 50 cents on Friday to $55.91 a barrel.

Brent crude oil

BRNZ19, -0.80%

 , the international standard, picked up 13 cents to $61.17 a barrel.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.05%

 slipped to 107.95 Japanese yen from 107.97 yen. The

EURUSD, -0.0274%

 strengthened to $1.0935 from $1.0934.

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