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Asian shares mostly lower amid jitters ahead of trade talks

Asian shares mostly lower amid jitters ahead of trade talks
Business
TOKYO -- Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday amid investor jitters ahead of the latest round of trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Japan s benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 1.3% in early trading to 21,333.22. Australia s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 6,291.60. South Korea s Kospi dropped 1.0% to 2,145.82. Hong Kong s Hang Seng lost 1.6% to 28,549.70, while the Shanghai Composite shed 1.0% to 2,862.98.

On Wall Street, a late-afternoon reversal added to the market s losses following a steep sell-off a day earlier as investors worry that the costly trade dispute between the world s two biggest economies will escalate.

Financial markets turned volatile this week after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, a threat that is set to become reality early Friday. Negotiations between the U.S. and China are scheduled to continue in Washington on Thursday, and will include China s top trade official.

The S&P 500 index fell 4.63 points, or 0.2%, to 2,879.42. The benchmark index had been up 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 2.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25,967.33. The Nasdaq composite dropped 20.44 points, or 0.3%, to 7,943.32. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slid 7.34 points, or 0.5% to 1,574.97.

"The pressure looks to continue amid the trade concerns found within the market with heightened volatility a new normal this week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist with IG in Singapore.

The U.S. and China have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other s goods in their dispute over U.S. complaints about China s technology ambitions and practices.

Investors have been anticipating a deal throughout this year, which contributed to double-digit gains in all the major indexes. But the latest tough talk is raising anxiety on Wall Street and casting more doubt about a resolution.

The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday. If it follows through on those plans, it would mark a sharp escalation in the yearlong trade dispute that has raised prices on goods for consumers and companies.

The Trump administration also has threatened to extend 25% tariffs to another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China ships to the United States.

The possibility that the trade dispute could escalate represents a marked shift from just a few weeks ago, when talks between the U.S. and China appeared to be on track for an agreement.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 63 cents to $61.49 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 69 cents to $69.69.
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