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Asian Shares Close Mixed on Cautious Trading

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday, with anxiety around Brexit and conflicting reports about progress in U.S.-China trade talks keeping investors nervous.

Investors remained focused on the political turmoil in the U.K. after several ministers, including Brexit Minister Dominic Raab, resigned in protest to Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent to hit a fresh one-month high of 2,679.11 after Beijing reportedly delivered a written response to U.S. trade demands, raising hopes of a thaw in trade relations. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished higher by 0.3 percent at 26,183.53.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares fell as Nvidia’s weaker than expected revenues pulled down semiconductor-related stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.6 percent to 21,680.34, while the broader Topix index closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,629.30.

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Gaming giant Nintendo slumped more than 9 percent to post its biggest daily drop since July 2016 after Nvidia said that that demand for its Tegra chips from the game console market would be weak in the upcoming quarter. Advantest lost 7.6 percent and Tokyo Electron tumbled 4.3 percent.

Fanuc fell 2 percent and Jtekt Corp. declined 0.4 percent. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that China’s Ministry of Commerce has launched an investigation into alleged dumping of machine tools by Fanuc and Jtekt as well as two other Japanese companies.

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Australian markets finished marginally lower amid uncertainty surrounding Brexit and ongoing vitality in oil prices. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,730.60, taking the weekly loss to 3.2 percent.

Oil majors closed mostly lower, although Origin Energy climbed 1.5 percent. Santos shed 0.6 percent after the competition watchdog approved its $2.15 billion acquisition of Quadrant Energy.

The big four banks slipped between 0.1 percent and half a percent. Investment bank Macquarie Group inched up 0.2 percent after upgrading its profit guidance.

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Gold miners Newcrest and Evolution dropped 1-2 percent. Struggling department store chain Myer Holdings entered a trading halt, pending an announcement on reports of declining sales.

Higher commodity prices on hopes for a resolution in the U.S.-China relations helped lift resource stocks. Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose 1-2 percent, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3.8 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,092.40 as investor concerns over the U.S.-China trade friction eased. Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion jumped 2.5 percent, while tech heavyweight SK Hynix lost 2.4 percent.

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