Asian Stocks Fall Amid President Trump Trade Policy Fears

TOKYO (AP) -
A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average (top L), the Dow Jones average (top R) and the stock averages of other countries’ outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Asian markets slipped in muted trading Friday amid worries over U.S. trade policies that may affect regional economies. A stronger yen weighed on Japan’s exporters.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.2 percent lower to 19,339.56, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 2,093.33. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.8 percent to 5,739.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng stood at 24,028.20, down 0.4 percent, and the Shanghai Composite index also shed 0.4 percent to 3,239.40.

President Donald Trump’s stance on trade has unnerved many in Asia, as he has repeatedly accused countries like China and Japan of unfair competition and currency manipulation that he says are hurting U.S. jobs.

“While shares have generally continued to push higher they remain at risk of a short-term correction being technically overbought again, and with short-term investor sentiment at levels often associated with corrections,” Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

The Dow added 34.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,810.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.99 points to 2,363.81. The Nasdaq composite lost 25.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,835.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid 9.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,394.62.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures inched up 1 cent to $54.46 a barrel. It rebounded 86 cents to $54.45 a barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, added 5 cents to $56.87 a barrel in London.

The dollar dropped to 112.81 yen from 113.26 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0582 from $1.0554.