Asian Shares Mixed As US-China Tensions Weigh

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as worries about rising U.S.-China tensions and the stalled U.S. stimulus talks overshadowed hopes of more supportive monetary policy from China.

A cautious undertone prevailed after the U.S. and China postponed virtual trade talks planned for this weekend and U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday giving ByteDance 90 days to either sell or spin off its TikTok business in the United States.

China’s Shanghai Composite index jumped as much as 78.70 points, or 2.34 percent, to 3,438.80 after the People’s Bank of China injected liquidity into the financial system. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.65 percent to 25,347.34.

Japanese shares fell after the country reported a record economic contraction. The Nikkei average shed 192.61 points, or 0.83 percent, to close at 23,096.75, while the broader Topix index ended 0.84 percent lower at 1,609.82.

Japan’s gross domestic product plummeted an annualized 27.8 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report. That missed expectations for a decline of 27.2 percent following the 2.2 percent drop in the previous three months.

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, GDP sank 7.8 percent – again missing forecasts for a fall of 7.6 percent following the 0.6 percent slide in the three months prior.

Capital expenditure was down 1.5 percent on quarter, which beat expectations for a fall of 4.2 percent following the 1.7 percent increase in Q1.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group declined 1.4 percent and Fast Retailing gave up 0.9 percent. Automakers Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Suzuki Motor rose 1-2 percent.

Australian stocks fell notably as Victoria recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with 25 deaths recorded overnight.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 49.80 points, or 0.81 percent, to 6,076.40, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 43.20 points, or 0.69 percent, at 6,218.50.

Financials led the retreat, with the big four banks ending down between 1.4 percent and 2.6 percent.

Mid-sized lender Bendigo and Adelaide Bank slumped 6.6 percent after halving its profits and deferring a decision on its final dividend.

Electronics retailer JB Hi Fi soared 4.8 percent after it reported a 21 percent increase in full-year profit.

New Zealand shares rallied as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delayed the general election by four weeks until Oct. 17 and a survey showed the services sector in the country expanded at a steady pace in July with a Performance of Services Index score of 54.3, unchanged from the June reading.

The benchmark NZX-50 index climbed 220.81 points, or 1.93 percent, to 11,672.95. Retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings surged 5.6 percent despite posting a 6 percent fall in underlying profit for the first half of the year.

Markets in South Korea and Indonesia were closed for holidays. Singapore’s Straits Times index was down half a percent. The country’s non-oil exports rose 1.2 percent sequentially in July, Enterprise Singapore said today – beating forecasts for an increase of 0.4 percent and down from 1.4 percent in June.

On a yearly basis, non-oil exports climbed 6.0 percent – again beating expectations for a gain of 4.3 percent but slowing from 13.9 percent in the previous month.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed on Friday as negotiations over a new coronavirus relief plan remained at a standstill and data showed retail sales growth slowed last month.

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