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Asian Markets In Negative Territory

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Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Wednesday after a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Economic Club of New York failed to provide any new information about the state of trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Trump claimed the Chinese are "dying to make a deal" and an agreement is "close", but also threatened further increases in tariffs if a trade deal is not reached. In addition, worries about the growing unrest in Hong Kong weighed on the markets.

The Australian market pared initial gains and is modestly lower, extending losses from the previous session following the lackluster cues from Wall Street. Mining and oil stocks are among the leading decliners.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 11.70 points or 0.17 percent to 6,741.30, after rising to a high of 6,766.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 9.90 points or 0.14 percent to 6,847.20. Australian stocks closed lower on Tuesday.

The major miners are lower. Fortescue Metals is losing almost 3 percent, Rio Tinto is declining almost 2 percent and BHP Billiton is down almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices edged lower overnight. Oil Search and Santos are declining more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent.

The big four banks are mixed. Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent and Westpac is down 0.6 percent, while National Australia Bank is rising 0.3 percent and ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding almost 1 percent despite gold prices extending losses to a fourth straight session overnight.

Bingo Industries' shares are gaining almost 12 percent after the waste manager projected its full-year underlying earnings to rise by as much as 55 percent.

Afterpay Touch Group said it will be available on eBay's local site in 2020 and will provide its installment payment option to the platform's 40,000 small and medium businesses as well as users. However, shares of the buy now, pay later service are declining almost 1 percent.

A2 Milk Co. said its global chief marketing officer Susan Massasso will step down at the end of February, but did not give reasons for her departure. The milk processor's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6843, up from $0.6851 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is declining and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 190.98 points or 0.81 percent to 23,329.03, after touching a low of 23,327.60 earlier.

The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Sony is advancing almost 1 percent and Panasonic is rising 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent and Canon down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising 0.4 percent, while Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is up 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is losing almost 2 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is lower by 0.7 percent and Toyota Motor is down 0.2 percent.

Nissan Motor is declining more than 1 percent after reporting a more than 73 percent fall in profit for the first half of the year and lowering its full-year outlook.

In the oil sector, Inpex is losing more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is declining almost 1 percent after crude oil prices edged lower overnight.

Among the major gainers, Fujifilm Holdings is rising more than 6 percent, Taiheiyo Cement is higher by almost 3 percent and Isuzu Motors is advancing more than 2 percent.

On the flip side, Mitsui E&S Holdings is losing almost 5 percent, JFE Holdings is lower by more than 4 percent and Sumitomo Heavy Industries is declining almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is losing almost 2 percent, while South Korea and Singapore are declining almost 1 percent each. Shanghai, New Zealand, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia are also lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed little changed on Tuesday as traders initially seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of President Donald Trump's speech at the Economic Club of New York this afternoon. Activity remained light after Trump spoke, however, as he failed to provide details about the state of trade talks between the U.S. and China. Trump claimed the Chinese are "dying to make a deal" and an agreement is "close," although investors had been hoping for more substantive comments from the president.

While the Nasdaq rose 21.81 points or 0.3 percent to 8,486.09 and the S&P 500 edged up 4.83 points or 0.2 percent to 3,091.84, the Dow ended the day unchanged at 27,691.49.
The major European markets moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index climbed by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled slightly lower on Tuesday, as worries about the outlook for energy demand and rising crude inventory levels in the U.S. continued to weigh on the commodity. WTI crude for December delivery edged down $0.06 to $56.80 a barrel.

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