Asia stocks mixed as US-China tension mounts

Asia stocks were mixed on Thursday as mounting U.S.-China tensions weighed on investor sentiment.

Japanese stocks led gains among the major regional markets, with the Nikkei 225 rising 2.32% to close at 21,916.31 as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing jumped 3.7%. The Topix index also advanced 1.8% to finish its trading day at 1,577.34.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.11%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent dropping 2.95%. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.33% to about 2,846.22 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.273% to around 10,653.49.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia jumped 1.32% to close at 5,851.10 after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe told lawmakers that “it is possible that the economic downturn will not be severe as earlier thought.”

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.13% to end its trading day at 2,028.54.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was fractionally lower.