Asian shares retreat on poor Japan trade data, China news

Shares retreated in Asia on Wednesday after Japan reported its worst monthly decline in exports in three years.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Thursday expressed China's solemn stance on the U.S. Senate's passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 when meeting with former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen in Beijing. Beijing is pressing Washington to agree to broader tariffs rollbacks on Chinese goods.

Britain's FTSE 100 jumped 1.1% to 7,318.86, while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.3% to 5,897.60. The Dow Jones average fell 54.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 27,766.29.

If the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passes the House and is signed into law by President Donald Trump, it would ask Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for special US trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial centre.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on whether the president meant to sign or veto the legislation.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has called for support for Hong Kong's special status, saying that many USA businesses feared that the bill, with the sections addressing export controls and sanctions, could have counter-productive consequences on them.

Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office-Beijing's highest office for managing the affairs of the two former European colonies-accused US lawmakers of "openly supporting rioters" in Hong Kong, according to a press release, using its typical language to describe protesters. Since the siege began Sunday, more than 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds of injured treated at hospitals, authorities said.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8% to 26,889.61. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 2,886.67.

Mercury to Make 'Transit' Across Sun Today for Last Time Until 2032
The eastern USA and Canada got the whole 5 1/2-hour show, weather permitting, along with Central and South America. But keep in mind to not look directly into the sun as doing so can cause blindness.

In remarks to the Financial Times, some traders linked the weakness in the region's stock markets to a Reuters report published on Thursday evening according to which a "phase one" trade deal between Washington and Beijing may not be signed until next year, as Chinese negotiators push for a roll-back in tariffs. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation in support of the protesters.

Markets seem to still be pricing in a Christmas Trade Miracle as the Hong Kong bill seems to be a major bump in the road that will complicate ongoing trade negotiations, but not completely derail them. Many chipmakers and companies that make hardware rely on China for sales and supply chains. -China trade deal could slide into next year as Beijing presses for tariff rollbacks. "If they don't, that's it, OK?"

He added that he remains confident but confused about the USA demands. "China relations. I think this is going to worsen relations".

USA stocks shook off a midday stumble to finish slightly higher Friday, though the modest rebound was not enough to keep the S&P 500 from breaking its longest stretch of weekly gains in two years.

The House passed similar bills last month by unanimous voice votes.

Investors appeared to be more focused on a Reuters report that completion of an initial U.S.

WH Group, the world's largest pork producer and the owner of the US meat processor Smithfield Foods, fell 4%.

North American stock markets fell slightly as investors continued to await signals about a trade deal and the strength of consumer spending.

  • Darren Santiago