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Asian Shares Retreat As Trade Tensions Rise


Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday after trade talks between the United States and China ended without a resolution last week and U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his tariff policy, saying the U.S. is right where it wants to be with China.

China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 35.50 points or 1.2 percent to 2,903.71 as investors await Beijing's next move on the trade front. The Hong Kong market was closed for a holiday.

Japanese shares fell notably as investors remained wary about renewed trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The Nikkei 225 Index slid 153.64 points or 0.7 percent to 21,191.28, while the broader Topix dropped 8.28 points or 0.5 percent to 1,541.14.

China-related stocks paced the decliners, with electronic parts maker Rohm losing 4.4 percent and construction machine maker Komatsu ending down 1.9 percent. Toshiba shed 0.7 percent after posting a steep drop in its 2018 operating profit.

Australian markets fell slightly, with banks falling as Commonwealth Bank of Australia posted disappointing third quarter results amid hefty remediation costs and shares of other top banks went ex-dividend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 13.30 points or 0.2 percent to 6,297.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 11.80 points or 0.2 percent at 6,381.30.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 2.5 percent after its cash profit declined 28 percent in the third quarter. Rival ANZ lost 3.9 percent and investment bank Macquarie Group declined 3.6 percent on going ex-dividend. National Australia Bank gave up 2 percent and Westpac Banking Corp eased 0.4 percent.

Energy stocks ended mixed, while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto ended modestly higher.

Reliance Worldwide Corp shares slumped 15.6 percent after the plumbing supply company lowered its full-year earnings outlook due to the lack of a winter freeze in the southern U.S.

Troubled fleet leaser Eclipx Group tumbled 4.7 percent after saying it has received interest from several parties for its two under-performing businesses.

Seoul stocks hit a four-month low as trade woes deepened. The benchmark Kospi ended down 29.03 points or 1.4 percent at 2,079.01, its lowest since January 15, while the won hit its lowest level since 2017 on growing anxiety over whether the U.S. and China will reach a trade resolution.

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 27.46 points or 0.3 percent at 10,126.83.

In economic news, New Zealand's food price inflation climbed 1 percent year-on-year in April, following March's 1.2 percent increase and February's 1.7 percent rise, Statistics New Zealand said in a report.

U.S. stocks recovered from an early slide to close higher on Friday after U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin indicated trade talks were "constructive" even though an agreement was not reached.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose around 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.1 percent.

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