Nikkei weighed by falling auto makers; China stocks stable
Asian shares finished mixed Friday, with Japan stocks leading decliners as trade worries continued after President Donald Trump announced additional tariffs on imports from Mexico.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, -1.63% closed down 1.6%, weighed as the yen climbed against rivals, up 0.7% against the dollar USDJPY, -0.01%
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.79% closed down 0.8% and the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.24% lost 0.2% after a report found China’s manufacturing activity contracted in May as the trade war with the U.S. took its toll
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.08% finished flat, while South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.14% gained 0.1%. Stocks rallied 1.1% in Taiwan Y9999, +1.11% , 2% in Indonesia JAKIDX, +1.72% , but fell in 0.8% in Singapore STI, -0.80% .
Among individual stocks, Japanese auto makers that have factories in Mexico — such as Toyota 7203, -2.85% , Honda 7267, -4.26% and Mazda 7261, -7.13% — tumbled in Tokyo trading after Trump announced his new tariffs. Oil producer Inpex 1605, -3.81% also fell. In Hong Kong, Tencent 700, +0.49% and Sunny Optical 2382, +0.54% gained while property names such as Wharf Real Estate 1997, -4.55% and New World Development 17, -2.36% fell. Auto makers Hyundai Motor 005380, -0.74% and Kia 000270, -4.49% declined in South Korea, while Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +1.95% gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, -2.94% and Westpac Banking WBC, -0.65% slipped in Australia.
Major U.S. stock indexes capped a day of listless trading with modest gains Thursday, snapping the market’s two-day losing streak. But Friday was setting up for a weaker day. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -0.06% , S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.00% and Nasdaq futures NQ00, +0.06% tumbled immediately after Trump’s announcement.
Trump announced a new 5% tariff on all Mexican goods late Thursday to halt the flow of migrants into the U.S. The tariff, to be effective June 10, would increase each month if Trump is not satisfied by Mexico’s efforts on border security.
“Early expectations for the temporary relief on Wall Street to spread to Asia markets into Friday had once again been derailed with more confrontation trade policies out of the U.S., one to throw markets into a risk-off mode again,” says Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
Trade concerns are likely to continue through late June, when U.S. and Chinese leaders will have an opportunity to meet at the G20 summit in Japan.
In early May the U.S. and China concluded their 11th round of trade talks with no agreement. The U.S. then more than doubled duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports, and China responded by raising its own tariffs.
Benchmark U.S. crude CLN19, -0.26% fell $1.27 to $55.30 a barrel. It skidded 3.8% to settle at $56.59 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude oil BRNN19, -3.59% , the international standard, slipped $1.80 to $63.98 per barrel.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.01% fell to 108.86 Japanese yen from 109.69 yen on Thursday.