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Asian Stocks Extend Losses Amid Trade Worries

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks moved mostly lower on Friday to extend recent losses as another round of U.S. tariffs on China loomed and investors looked ahead to the U.S. Labor Department?s August jobs report for clues to central bank rate hikes.

Chinese shares closed modestly higher in cautious trading, as a deadline for public comment on fresh U.S. tariffs expired. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 10.71 points or 0.4 percent to 2,702.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed marginally lower at 26,973.47.

Japanese shares closed lower for the sixth straight session and the yen strengthened against the dollar as investors awaited the U.S. tariff decision and the outcome of U.S.-Canada trade talks.

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Sentiment was also dented after U.S. President Trump reportedly told a columnist for the Wall Street Journal that he was ?still bothered by the terms of U.S. trade with Japan.?

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 180.88 points or 0.8 percent to 22,307.06, a 2-1/2-week low. For the week, the Nikkei lost 2.4 percent to post its biggest weekly drop since mid-March. The broader Topix Index closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,684.31.

Exporters saw widespread declines, with Toyota Motor, Panasonic, Canon and Kyocera Corp losing 1-4 percent. Tech stocks such as Sumco Corp, Tokyo Electron and Advantest plunged 5-7 percent.

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On the data front, a government report showed that average household spending in Japan rose 0.1 percent year-on-year year in July, coming in at 283,387 yen. That beat expectations for a decline of 0.9 percent following the 1.2 percent drop in June.

Australian markets ended lower as financial stocks extended losses for a seventh straight session and an overnight drop in oil prices pulled energy stocks lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 16.60 points or 0.3 percent to 6,143.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 15.50 points or 0.3 percent at 6,252.30.

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Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac slid between 0.1 percent and half a percent on concerns that rising interest rates could stifle housing demand. Alumina dropped 1.1 percent after workers at Alco’s alumina and bauxite operations in Western Australia rejected a proposed labor agreement.

Woodside Petroleum, Beach Energy and Oil Search tumbled 1-2 percent after oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Thursday. Meanwhile, Domino?s Pizza soared 4.5 percent amid accusations that it is underpaying employees.

In economic news, the construction sector in Australia continued to expand in August, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed.

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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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