Asian stock markets started September lower in early Monday trading, as trade-war fears increased after the U.S. and Canada missed a deal deadline set for Friday and uncertainty rose about escalating tariffs between the U.S. and China.
U.S. markets will be closed for the Labor Day holiday, but S&P 500 futures ESU8, +0.05% were up 0.15%.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.61% eased 0.4% even with the yen USDJPY, -0.16% little changed from Friday’s end-of-day levels in Tokyo. Steel and energy names were among the biggest laggards, with crude explorer Inpex 1605, -1.44% and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal 5401, -1.72% both down some 1.5%. Meanwhile, Renesas Electronics 6723, -5.95% was down 5% on news it is in the late stages of talks to possibly buy California-based Integrated Device Technology IDTI, +12.29% for about $6 billion. Sony 6758, -1.21% and Toyota 7203, -1.56% also logged near-1% declines.
Chinese stocks, already widely down for four straight days, continued to slump. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.75% was down 0.4% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -1.00% was off 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.92% was down 0.3%, as Tencent 0700, -2.65% dropped an additional 2% following the Chinese government’s crackdown last week on online games.
South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.74% slipped 0.5% as index heavyweights Samsung 005930, -2.06% and Posco 005490, -1.99% fell more than 1.5% each.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, -0.60% was off 0.5%, with Fisher & Paykel FPH, -3.90% sliding 4.5% after the medical-device firm was slapped with a patent-infringement lawsuit, while a2 Milk ATM, +1.43% dropped 2.1%. Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, -0.03% tried to buck the trend, rising 0.1% amid early strength in mining and consumer stocks.
Benchmarks in Taiwan Y9999, -0.90% , Singapore STI, -0.47% and Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.19% were all down about 0.5%.