Asian Shares Fall On Doubts Over US-China Trade Deal

Asian stocks fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump dangled the prospect of completing an initial trade deal with China "soon", but at the same time threatened further increase in tariffs if a trade deal is not reached. Worries about growing unrest in Hong Kong also kept underlying sentiment cautious.

China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 9.58 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,905.24 after Trump threatened to raise tariffs on China "substantially" if the two countries fail to strike a trade deal soon.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell as much as 1.82 percent to 26,571.46 after an escalation of violence. Hong Kong's security chief John Lee cautioned that "unthinkable" consequences may come if violence continued.

Japanese shares declined as the yen continued to appreciate against the dollar amid an escalating crisis in Hong Kong and the lack of material progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The Nikkei average shed 200.14 points, or 0.85 percent, to finish at 23,319.87 while the broader Topix index closed 0.55 percent lower at 1,700.33, snapping a six-day winning streak.

Nissan Motor slid half a percent after the company reported a 70 percent profit drop in quarterly profit and cut its full-year outlook. Fujifilm soared 6.3 percent after the company forecast a record annual profit.

E-commerce settlement service firm GMO Payment Gateway slumped 9.3 percent after its quarterly earnings and profit guidance for the year to next September fell short of market expectations.

Australian markets retreated amid lingering uncertainty on whether, and when, the United States and China will agree a long-awaited deal to end their bitter trade dispute.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 54.60 points, or 0.81 percent, to 6,698.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 51.50 points, or 0.75 percent, at 6,805.60.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group declined 1-2 percent while energy stocks such as Oil Search, Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum lost around 1 percent.

Lender Westpac Banking Corp declined 1.3 percent to extend losses. Commonwealth Bank of Australia shed 2 percent after announcing changes to its executive leadership team.

Bingo Industries shares surged 10.7 percent after the waste manager projected its full-year underlying earnings to rise by as much as 55 percent.

Seoul stocks fell after Trump didn't offer any concrete details on ongoing trade talks with China. The Kospi average ended down 18.47 points, or 0.86 percent, at 2,122.45.

In economic releases, South Korea's jobless rate climbed to a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent in October from 3.4 percent in September, figures from Statistics Korea showed. Economists had expected the rate to rise to 3.4 percent.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end sharply lower after the country's central bank unexpectedly left interest rates on hold, disappointing some who had forecast a cut in the 1 percent benchmark rate to a record-low 0.75 percent. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 90.88 points, or 0.83 percent, to 10,835.43.

U.S. stocks ended off their day's highs overnight after President Trump delivered a political speech and again attacked Federal Reserve monetary policy before claiming that the Chinese are "dying to make a deal".

The president said a significant phase one trade deal with China "could happen soon" but stressed that he would only accept an agreement that is good for U.S. companies and workers.

He didn't offer clarity on a rollback of import tariffs and threatened further increases in tariffs if a deal is not reached.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended on a flat note, while the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3 percent to reach record closing high.

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