Asia Stumbles over Trade Concerns

Stocks in Asia slipped on Friday amid growing concerns over the trade fight between the U.S. and China.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 122.78 points, or 0.6%, to 20,751.28, as index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 0.5%. Shares of Sony, however, bucked the overall downward trend and jumped 4.1% after the company announced

The Japanese yen traded at 109.71 against the U.S. dollar after touching lows of about 110 yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng returned from holiday by dropping 43.89 points, or 0.2%, to 27,946.32. Shares of Chinese tech heavyweight Tencent declined 0.5%.

In Australia, markets eased as the energy sub-index fell 2.6% as oil stocks declined on the back of Thursday's drop in crude prices.
Santos shares fell 4.4%, Woodside Petroleum slipped 1.7% and Beach Energy dropped 9.7%.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7079 U.S. after seeing continued weakness following its sharp decline from levels near $0.7260 on Wednesday.

On Thursday, investor confidence dented as it became clear that a trade meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would not happen before a key March deadline.

China and the U.S. have until the start of March to strike a trade deal. Otherwise, additional tariffs on Chinese goods will take effect. The source said a meeting between Xi and Trump could happen shortly after the deadline passes, but noted both sides have much work ahead of them. Trump later confirmed he would not be meeting Xi before the deadline.

In other markets

Markets in Taiwan and Shanghai remained shuttered for holiday

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 26.37 points, or 1.2%, to 2,177.05

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index poked up 1.4 points to 3,202.04

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 43.1 points, or 0.5%, to 9,176.61

In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped 21.01 points, or 0.3%, to 6,071.46