Asia Mixed Amid Renewed U.S.-China Tensions

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Tuesday amid renewed geopolitical tensions, with China accusing the U.S. of fueling cybersecurity fears.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 20.8 points, or 0.1%, to 21,302.65, as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing slipped 0.6%.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.66 against the U.S. dollar after seeing an earlier high of 110.44.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 118.88 points, or 0.4%, to 28.228.13. Hong Kong-listed shares of HSBC fell 1.5% after the bank announced 2018 earnings which missed expectations.

In Australia, stocks finished positive. Shares of health supplements company Blackmores, however, plummeted 24.9% after the company issued a weaker outlook for the second half of its fiscal year on the back of concerns over its sales in China.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7116 U.S. after touching a low of $0.7104 earlier.


In China, the CSI 300 lost 6.13 points, or 0.2%, to 3,439.61

The Chinese government said Monday that the U.S. is attempting to curtail its technology development by claiming that Chinese mobile network gear might pose a cybersecurity threat to foreign countries which adopt the equipment.

The U.S. alleged that Beijing might use Chinese tech companies to gather intelligence about foreign countries, even though those claims have yet to be substantiated. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been putting pressure on the country's allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei, threatening the company's access to markets for next-generation wireless gear.

The company, the biggest global maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies, denies accusations it facilitates Chinese spying and said it would reject any government demands to disclose confidential information about foreign customers.

Investors also awaited developments on the U.S.-China trade front. The White House said on Monday that trade talks between the two economic powerhouses will continue in Washington on Tuesday, with higher level negotiations starting later in the week.

Also on Monday, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told the BBC that the arrest of his daughter and chief financial officer of the company, Meng Wanzhou, was a "politically motivated act."

Meng was arrested in Canada last December and currently faces possible extradition to the U.S., she was charged with bank and wire fraud to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 5.26 points, or 0.2%, to 2,205.63

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index subtracted 6.17 points, or 0.2%, to 3,259.80

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index acquired 6.98 points, or 0.1%, to 10,152.26

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 settled 21.18 points, or 0.2%, to 9,224.16

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 17.04 points, or 0.3%, to 6,106.88