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Asian Shares Mostly Lower On Trade Deal Worries

asianmarket 021219 11nov19 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday, with Chinese and Hong Kong markets pacing the declines, as regional data proved to be a mixed bag and tensions soared in Hong Kong following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student.

U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks last week also cast fresh doubts over the prospects of a trade deal between the world's two largest economies.

Chinese shares fell the most in over four months on concerns over slowing growth and uncertainty around a proposed U.S.-China trade deal.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 54.21 points, or 1.8 percent to 2,909.97, marking its worst session since July 8 as inflation data from China brought slowdown fears to the fore.

While China's consumer price index grew at its fastest pace in about eight years, a measure of producer prices fell the most in more than three years in October, underscoring the problem of moderating demand.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 724.59 points, or 2.6 percent, to 26,926.55 after political tensions flared up in the city once again.

Japanese shares closed lower to snap a four-day winning streak as Trump's latest comments on trade undercut hopes for a deal anytime soon. Disappointing machinery orders data also weighed on sentiment.

Japan's machinery orders fell for a third straight month in September, raising doubts over whether the recent strength in capital goods shipments would last.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 60.03 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,331.84, while the broader Topix finished marginally higher at 1,704.03.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing shed 0.9 percent and SoftBank Group dropped 1 percent. Honda Motor jumped 4.2 percent after unveiling a $915 million share buyback. Nissan edged down slightly ahead of its half-year earnings due on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Australian stocks rose notably after Wall Street's major indexes reached record closing highs on Friday despite fresh worries about U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index climbed 48.40 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,772.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 43.80 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,877.

CSL rallied 3.5 percent on a brokerage upgrade, and hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear advanced 2.1 percent. Weak iron ore prices weighed on the mining sector, with Rio Tinto falling 2.4 percent and Fortescue Metals Group tumbling 5.5 percent.

Lender ANZ declined 2.6 percent on going ex-dividend. The other three big banks rose between 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent. Elders jumped 4.8 percent after the agricultural products company said it would be able to withstand the worst of the drought.

Bubs Australia soared 4.7 percent after it signed a two-year distribution deal with Vietnam's mother and baby store chain BiboMart JS Company.

Seoul stocks fell on doubts about when the world's two largest economies may end a 16-month trade war. The benchmark Kospi dropped 13.14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,124.09.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 42.81 points, or 0.4 percent, at 10,919.79. Sky Network Television shares rose over 1 percent after the company secured broadcasting rights for the 2022 and 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Total retail card spending in New Zealand fell 0.6 percent sequentially in October after a 0.2 percent rise in September, figures from Statistics New Zealand showed.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite Index edged down 0.1 percent after a government report showed the country's industrial output rose 1.7 percent year-on-year in September, the same rate as seen in August.

U.S. stocks inched up on Friday to reach record closing highs as a measure of consumer sentiment showed improvement and Walt Disney's third quarter earnings beat forecasts, helping offset comments by President Trump that he hasn't agreed to lift tariffs on China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up marginally and the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained half a percent.

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