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Asia300

Asian stocks edge lower in cautious trade as US politics weigh

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) - Asian stocks outside of Japan were little changed as investors remained cautious about the future of U.S. President Donald Trump's economic policies.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index slipped less than 0.1% to 1,272.38. Indian technology major Infosys contributed most to the decline on the 50-stock gauge, sliding 5.4% to extend Friday's losses after its Chief Executive Officer Vishal Sikka resigned. The stock's 14.5% drop since Sikka resigned marks its worst two-day fall in more than four years. The country gauge for India fell 0.9%. CNOOC rose 3.7% after crude oil prices jumped Friday. China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) and PetroChina added at least 1.5% each.

The sideways movement in Asian equities on Monday followed a drop on Wall Street Friday amid lingering worries about the Trump administration's ability to pass promised pro-growth policies. Market participants also await news from an annual central-banking symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week, for further cues.

"Politics have clearly taken the front seat and another shock will likely lead to a further selloff in equities," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, wrote in a note. "Given that the economic calendar doesn't hold tier-one data this week, investors and traders will be focusing on the Jackson Hole central bank gathering."

China's index rose 0.6%, while Hong Kong's gauge added 0.1%.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) rose 3.5% as it resumed trade after a three-day halt, following news that its parent group will raise $11.7 billion from a stake sale in China United Network Communications - China Unicom Hong Kong's controlling shareholder - to companies including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings. Alibaba rose 2.2% in New York on Friday, while Tencent ended little changed on Monday.

China Overseas Land & Investment advanced 2.8% after reporting a 26% increase in first-half core profit. The developer also raised its full-year sales target by 10%.

Anhui Conch Cement rose 1.8% in Hong Kong ahead of its half-year earnings.

China Resources Beer Holdings fell 2.1% after its first-half net profit rose 93.4%, missing expectations.

South Korea's gauge shed 0.3%. Investors are watching a joint military exercise between South Korea and the U.S. that started Monday.

The country gauge for Taiwan lost 0.3%. Data released Monday showed the nation's export orders rose a narrower-than-expected 10.5% in July, slowing from June's 13% increase.

Smartphone maker HTC fell 1.4%. The company said it plans to reduce the price of its Vive virtual-reality headset by $200, effective Monday.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index added 0.1%. Thailand's index rose 0.3% after data released Monday showed the nation's gross domestic product expanded 3.7% in the second quarter, beating the 3.2% increase forecast by economists surveyed in a Bloomberg poll.

Markets in the Philippines were closed Monday for a local holiday.

--Suzannah Benjamin and V. Phani Kumar

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