Hong Kong stocks lead losses among major Asia markets

Stocks in Asia were lower on Friday as investors continued to watch for developments on U.S.-China trade following a recent escalation in tensions over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among major markets regionally as it fell 2.03% to close at 26,346.49, with shares of life insurer AIA dropping 2.24%.

Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.61% to around 2,871.98 and the Shenzhen composite declining 0.297% to about 1,593.10. The Shenzhen component also shed 0.42% to 9,582.16.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.49% to close at 23,293.91 while the Topix index shed 0.51% to end its trading day at 1,699.36.

South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.45% to close at 2,087.96 as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.42%. The Bank of Korea announced on Friday its decision to keep the benchmark interest rate steady at 1.25%, in line with expectations of economists in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia declined 0.26% to end its trading day at 6,846.00.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 1.15% lower.