TOKYO – Asian shares were mostly lower Monday amid worries about escalating trade friction between the U.S. and Canada, who have been unable to agree to a revamped trade deal but will continue negotiating this week.
Keeping score: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 percent in morning trading to 22,751.13. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was virtually unchanged at 6,321.60. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5 percent to 2,312.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.1 percent to 27,586.05, while the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.2 percent at 2,693.31.
Wall street: The S&P 500 index was down for most of the day Friday but inched up 0.39 points to close at 2,901.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,964.82. The Nasdaq composite rose 21.17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,109.54. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 8.40 points, or 0.5 percent, to a record high of 1,740.75.
Trade worries: Investors had hoped the U.S. and Canada would finish the outlines of a revamped NAFTA pact after the U.S. and Mexico announced a preliminary agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that talks will resume on Wednesday. President Donald Trump said he is willing to make a deal with just Mexico, excluding Canada, but Wall Street is confident the final deal will include all three.
Analyst’s take: “With Canada not reaching an agreement with the U.S. on the NAFTA talks that were rushed on Friday last week, focus has now shifted to the mid-week deadline for Canada to sign up for the revamped NAFTA structure,” said Vishnu Varathan at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
Currencies: The dollar rose to 110.92 yen from 110.75 yen. The euro fell to $ 1.1598 from $1.1685.
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