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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Monday, but mostly lower, led by a steep drop in China shares. The catalyst behind the sell was rising tech tensions between Washington and Beijing.

China and Hong Kong stocks were especially hit hard after a U.S. official said it was considering adding Hong Kong-listed Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp to a trade blacklist. Additionally, shares in Japan dropped following a decline in Wall Street shares on Friday while SoftBank Group sank as news revealed it had made massive bets on U.S. technology shares just as a rally in the sector cooled off.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23089.05, down 115.48 or -0.50%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24589.65, down 105.80 or -0.43% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2384.22, up 15.97 or +0.67%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3292.59, down 62.78 or -1.87% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5944.80, up 19.30 or +0.33%.

Hong Kong Shares of China’s SMIC Plunge as Trump Considers Adding Firm in Blacklist

The Trump administration is considering whether to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC to a trade blacklist, a Defense Department official said Friday, as the United States escalates a crackdown on Chinese companies.

The stock was the fifth most actively traded by turnover in early trade. Its Shanghai-listed shares fell as much as 11%.

SMIC is seen as an important player in China’s ambition to grow its domestic semiconductor industry. The potential move by Washington, first reported by Reuters, would mark a major escalation in the tech battle between the U.S. and China.

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Nikkei Dips as SoftBank Group Tumbles after NASDAQ Rout

Japan’s Nikkei average dipped on Monday following a fall in Wall Street shares. The selling was led by SoftBank Group, which sank on the news it had made massive bets on U.S. technology stocks just before Thursday’s and Friday’s steep declines. Concerns about high valuations sent Wall Street’s tech-heavy NASDAQ sharply lower during the last two sessions, its biggest setback after almost six months of strong gains.

SoftBank Group sank 6.6% to a two-month low. The company made significant option purchases during the run-up in the U.S. stock market in recent weeks as a way of temporarily investing some proceeds from asset sales, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

China Says August Exports Beat Expectations, Jumping 9.5% from a Year Ago

China’s dollar-denominated exports beat expectations to rise 9.5% for the month of August from a year ago, data from the country’s General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.

Meanwhile, China’s dollar-denominated imports in August fell 2.1% from a year ago.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to have climbed 7.1% in August from a year ago compared with a 7.2% rise in July, while imports were expected to climb 0.1% in August from a year ago, reversing a 1.4% decline in July.

China posted a trade surplus of $58.93 billion for the month of August, beating the $50.50 billion economists had expected. China’s trade surplus was $62.33 billion in July. The growth was the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years, according to Reuters records.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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