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Asian Equities’ Early Gains Vaporise to Finish Lower

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mostly lower on Thursday, as worries about the escalating Washington-Beijing trade war overshadowed investor optimism about the NAFTA trade talks.

Chinese shares extended losses for a third straight session as trade fears lingered and investors awaited cues from manufacturing data due on Friday. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 31.56 points or 1.1 percent to 2,737.74, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 252.39 points or 0.9 percent to 28,164.05.

Japanese shares gave up initial gains to end roughly flat. The Nikkei 225 Index hit a more than three-month high before ending the session up 21.28 points or 0.1 percent at 22,869.50. The broader Topix Index closed marginally lower at 1,739.14. Index heavyweights Fanuc, Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group rose between 0.2 percent and 0.9 percent.

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Panasonic lost 1.2 percent on a Nikkei report that the company plans to move its European headquarters out of the U.K. to Amsterdam to avoid potential tax issues related to Brexit.

Retail sales in Japan rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent sequentially in July, a government report showed. That missed expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent.

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On an annual basis, retail sales climbed 1.5 percent, exceeding expectations for 1.2 percent but down from 1.8 percent in the previous month.

Australian shares gave up early gains to finish largely unchanged as TPG Telecom and Vodafone Group?s local subsidiary agreed to combine in a proposed merger of equals.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index finished marginally lower at 6,351.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index edged up 3.50 points to 6,460.50.

TPG Telecom shares jumped more than 18 percent and rival Telstra advanced 2.9 percent. Westpac Banking dropped 0.8 percent after lifting mortgage rates, while Commonwealth lost 1.5 percent and NAB shed 0.6 percent. Energy stocks ended mixed despite oil prices rising more than one percent overnight.

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Shipbuilder Austal rose 1.2 percent after reporting a full-year profit that more than doubled from last year. Private hospital operator Ramsay Healthcare slumped 6.3 percent as it reported a nearly 21 percent drop in full-year profits on write-downs and restructuring costs.

On the economic front, reports on new building approvals and private capital spending painted a gloomy picture of the Australian economy.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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