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Asian Markets Mostly Lower, Led By Hong Kong


Asian stock markets, led by Hong Kong, are mostly lower on Monday despite the modest gains on Wall Street Friday as uncertainty about a U.S.-China trade deal and rising political turmoil in Hong Kong dampened investor sentiment. According to reports, at least two protesters were injured in Hong Kong after police opened fire at mass demonstrations in the city.

The Australian market is advancing following the modest gains on Wall Street Friday after investors digested conflicting information regarding negotiations of a U.S.-China trade deal. Gains by banks and oil stocks helped offset weakness in mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 28.80 points or 0.43 percent to 6,752.90, after rising to a high of 6,763.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 26.50 points or 0.39 percent to 6,859.70. Australian stocks closed little changed with a negative bias on Friday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose modestly on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is advancing more than 1 percent, Santos is rising 0.7 percent, and Oil Search is adding 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are weak. Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 4 percent, Rio Tinto is declining almost 2 percent, and BHP Billiton is down almost 1 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is advancing almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent after gold prices edged lower on Friday.

Elders Limited reported a 3.7 percent decrease in full-year net profit despite higher revenues and maintained its final dividend. The agricultural products' company's shares are gaining more than 4 percent.

Bubs Australia said it has signed a two-year distribution deal with Vietnam's mother and baby store chain BiboMart JS Company for its goat milk formula to be sold in 135 BiboMart stores from December. The company's shares are also higher by more than 4 percent.

Qantas Airways said it has committed to zero net emissions by 2050 that will be achieved through fuel efficiency and the use of carbon offset schemes. The airline's shares are advancing more than 2 percent.

EML Payments said it is acquiring Prepaid Financial Services in a deal that valued the UK-based firm at about A$423 million. The payment solutions provider's shares are in a trading halt.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6861, up from $0.6882 on Friday.

The Japanese market is edging lower, after opening higher following the modest gains on Wall Street Friday as investors digested conflicting information regarding negotiations of a U.S.-China trade deal. Data showing Japan's core machinery orders fell in September for a third straight month also dampened sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 7.02 points or 0.03 percent to 23,384.85, after rising to a high of 23,471.82 in early trade.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.4 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining 0.5 percent.

The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric is lower by almost 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.4 percent, while Sony is rising more than 1 percent and Canon is up 0.3 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is rising more than 3 percent, while Toyota Motor is down 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is lower by almost 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is adding 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent and Inpex is losing 0.4 percent even as crude oil prices edged higher on Friday.

Among the major gainers, Nissan Chemical is rising more than 8 percent, Mitsui E&S Holdings is gaining almost 5 percent and Secom Co. is higher by more than 4 percent.

On the flip side, Daiwa House Industry is losing more than 7 percent and Meiji Holdings is lower by almost 4 percent. Taisei Corp, Citizen Watch Co. and Pacific Metals are all declining more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 109 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is losing more than 2 percent, while Shanghai and Taiwan are lower by more than 1 percent each. South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are also lower. New Zealand is modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance, but managed to close higher on Friday as traders digested conflicting information regarding negotiations of a U.S.-China trade deal. Comments from a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman indicating the U.S. and China had agreed to roll back existing tariffs as part of a phase one trade deal contributed to strength in the markets on Thursday. However, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he has not agreed to lift the tariffs on China.

The Dow inched up 6.44 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,681.24, the Nasdaq climbed 40.80 points or 0.5 percent to 8,475.31 and the S&P 500 rose 7.90 points or 0.3 percent to 3,093.08.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Friday despite higher crude inventories and renewed uncertainty about U.S.-China trade deal. WTI crude for December ended up $0.09 or 0.2 percent at $57.24 a barrel.

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