Asian shares down after Wall Street holiday, trade worries

By Canadian Press
December 5, 2018 - 7:11pm

TOKYO — Asian stock prices fell Thursday amid growing uncertainty about the global economy, President Donald Trump's tariff policies on China and a holiday on Wall Street. Markets in New York were closed overnight for the national day of mourning for former President George H. W. Bush.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.8 per cent to 21,525.48. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.6 per cent to 5,635.60 in early trading. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.9 per cent to 2,081.68. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.1 per cent to 26,255.60, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.8 per cent at 2,628.22. Shares were also down in Taiwan.

TRADE QUESTIONS: The Federal Reserve said there were concerns about higher tariffs from a widening trade war, rising interest rates and tight labour markets. Trump's get-tough approach to trade was causing rising costs for manufacturers and weaker sales at companies, it said.

HUAWEI WATCH: Investors are also watching for possible market reaction to the news of the arrest by Canadian authorities of the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies for possible extradition to the United States. Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday, but the news is only recently being released.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "We are closely watching the developments in Asia after reports that Canada has arrested the Huawei CFO facing U.S. extradition for allegedly violating Iran sanctions. This headline is quite significant as the U.S. government is attempting to persuade allies to stop using Huawei equipment due to security fears, and this headline could weigh negatively on tech stocks," said Stephen Innes, head of trading at Oanda in Singapore.

TECHNOLOGY STOCK: Technology shares were down in Asian trading, with Nintendo Co., Samsung Electronics Co., and SoftBank Group Corp. all down in morning trading.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $52.68 a barrel. It fell 0.7 per cent to $52.89 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 10 cents to $61.46.

CURRENCY: The dollar slipped to 112.81 yen from 113.19 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1347 from $1.1342.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

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