Asian stocks traded mixed Friday, as worries over trade tensions between the United States and China weighed on investor sentiment.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.67% in the afternoon.
Mainland Chinese markets were mixed: The Shanghai composite closed flat while the Shenzhen composite fell 0.48%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added about 0.4% in late afternoon trade.
In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.16% to 21,117.22 while the Topix index was fractionally higher at 1,541.21. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.69% to 2,045.31.
Australia’s ASX 200 declined 0.55% to 6,456, with the financial subindex down 0.45%.
“A negative shift (in) the US-China trade negotiations took its toll on the markets,” analysts at ANZ Research said in an early morning note. “China is prepared to hunker down and support its private enterprises rather than yield to the financial pressures being applied by the US.”
The ANZ analysts pointed out that since both sides “will only negotiate on their own terms, it could be years before the two powers can find sufficient common ground.”
Both Beijing and Washington have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since last year. The trade tensions have battered financial markets and dampened business sentiment. The situation escalated earlier this month as both sides hiked tariffs on their goods.
Overnight, U.S. stocks fell as investors were concerned the trade war may last much longer than anticipated. Data also showed that manufacturing activity in the world’s largest economy grew at its slowest pace since September 2009 this month.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party clinched a landslide re-election victory. On Thursday, as Modi’s party led the vote count, investors had cheered — at one point, the Nifty 50 jumped above the 12,000 mark while the Sensex breached the 40,000 level. Both indexes ultimately gave up gains and closed lower.
On Friday, the Nifty 50 was up 0.77% while the Sensex added 0.78%.
Elsewhere, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 97.696, falling from an earlier high of 97.906.
The Japanese yen, considered a safe haven currency, traded at 109.53 to the dollar, strengthening from levels beyond 110.40 earlier in the week. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6896, gaining slightly from levels below $0.6880.
Oil prices jumped during Asia trading hours, bouncing back after losses on Thursday. Brent crude futures jumped 0.99% to $68.43 per barrel, and U.S. crude futures soared about 1.11% to $58.55 per barrel.