Asian Markets Mixed; Chinese Stocks Fall Amid Concerns Over Huawei CFO Arrest

7 Dec 2018

Asian Markets Mixed; Chinese Stocks Fall Amid Concerns Over Huawei CFO Arrest

Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Friday, with Chinese stocks underperforming as concerns surrounding technology giant Huawei remained in focus.

Japan said it is considering banning government purchases of equipment from Huawei and ZTE (HK:0763), Reuters reported on Friday citing a person with direct knowledge and a person briefed on the matter.

The news came after Canada’s Department of Justice said on Wednesday that Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver due to violations of U.S. sanctions. She is facing extradition to the United States, according to various media.

Earlier this year, the United States banned government purchases of Huawei gear.

The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component both fell 0.3%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.1% by 10:02 PM ET (03:02 GMT).

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed mostly lower amid continuing fears over U.S.-China trade relations after the Huawei arrest, but well off their session lows after news broke that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than previously expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 79.40 points lower at 24,947.67 after plunging nearly 800 points, while the S&P 500 closed 0.15%. The Nasdaq Composite erased its losses, closing 0.4% higher at 7,188.26

The Federal Reserve is considering whether to signal a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes at its upcoming meeting this month, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On Thursday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell delivered a bullish assessment of the U.S. economy.

“Our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,’’ said Powell in his final scheduled public remarks before the central bank goes into a blackout period before its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. “In fact, by many national-level measures, our labor market is very strong.’’

Traders have reportedly reduced their bets on 2019 rate increases amid stock-market losses and worries over an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.2% in morning trade despite disappointing household spending data.

The country’s household spending was down 0.3% in October from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, comparing to a median market forecast of a 1.4% rise.

South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.1%, while Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.5%.

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