Asian Stock Markets Slip as Hong Kong Protest Worries Persist; Alibaba Advances in Hong Kong Debut

Asian stock markets were softer Tuesday, slipping on concerns about Hong Kong’s political outlook and China-US trade talks. In particular, property issues in Hong Kong suffered, hurt by worries about further street protests after the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, on Tuesday made no concessions following Sunday’s landslide win of anti-government candidates in the city’s election, according to the South China Morning Post. The Hong Kong market fell, Shanghai trade flat while Tokyo gained. Other regional exchanges generally declined.

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In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened higher and held onto positive territory, finishing up 0.35% on overnight Wall Street cues and a yen that traded at more than 109 to the US dollar in the morning session, compared with a summertime level of 105 to the greenback. From the China-US trade front, China’s Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated by telephone Tuesday, Beijing said.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 80.51 to 23,373.32, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 117 to 104.

Leading the upside were electronics maker Taiyo Yuden (TYOYY, 6976:Tokyo) and TDK Corp. (TTDKY, 6762:Tokyo), with each rising 3.7%. Semiconductor-test equipment manufacturer Advantest (ATEYY, 6857:Tokyo) rose 3.6%.

On the downside were chemical concern Showa Denko (SHWDY, 4004:Tokyo), off 6.0%, and builder Shimizu (SHMUY, 1803:Tokyo), off 3.9%.

In other news, the amount of unclaimed land in Japan, usually in rural areas and unclaimed after the death of owners, is as large as the island of Taiwan, officials said.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened higher on Wall Street cues but turned lower to close down 0.29% as traders re-assessed the city’s prospects in light of continuing political tensions. Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s (BABA) initial share offering on the Hong Kong Exchanges rose 6.6% in its first day of trading.

The broad gauge Hang Seng fell 79.12 to 26,913.92, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 26 to 21.

Leading the upside was China Mengniu Dairy (2319:HK), up 3.0% after reporting plans to buy an Australian dairy. Smartphone components maker Sunny Optical Trading (2382:HK) rose 2.9%, and confectioner Want Want China (151:HK) gained 2.4%.

On the downside were components maker AAC Technologies (2018:HK), with the Apple (AAPL) supplier down 4.9%. Property concern CK Asset (1113:HK) fell 2.3%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.03% to 2,907.06.

In other news, the mainland People’s Bank Of China 2019 China Financial Stability Report released Monday said that about 13% or 586 banks and financial institutions were highly risky and required reforms.

On other exchanges, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.10%; the Taiwan TWSE inclined 0.13%; the Australian ASX 200 rose 0.83%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 0.40%, and the Thai Set declined 0.34%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was off 0.21%.

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