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Asia300

Asian stocks fall after Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protestors

China Life Insurance, China Mobile drop

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan declined Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation in support of Hong Kong protestors, prompting a warning of retaliation from China.

The Nikkei Asia300 index lost 0.4% to close at 1,320.27.

Trump signed two bills that support pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The legislation requires the U.S. to conduct an annual review of Hong Kong's special trading status on the basis of whether the city still has sufficient autonomy. In response, China's Foreign Ministry said it will take "firm counter measures" if the U.S. continues to interfere in the matters related to Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

The passage of the legislation, which had received near unanimous support from the U.S. Congress, could douse recent optimism regarding a trade deal between the world's two largest economies. Trump earlier this week had indicated that a deal was imminent after China's commerce ministry said the top officials of the two countries agreed on contentious trade issues.

The offshore yuan slipped Thursday alongside Chinese equities and U.S. index futures. The safe-haven yen advanced.

An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong fell 0.5%. China Life Insurance declined 1.2%, China Mobile dropped 1.6%, and China Unicom Hong Kong ended 2.7% lower.

Among other movers, Sun Hung Kai Properties edged 0.2% lower. The Hong Kong property developer on Wednesday said its units won the tender for a land parcel in Hong Kong's Kowloon area at a premium of 42.2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.39 billion).

AirAsia dropped 2.3% after the Malaysian discount carrier reported a loss for the September quarter compared with a profit in the same period last year.

Airports of Thailand fell 3.5% following a 0.5% fall in net profit for the financial year ended Sept. 30.

Malayan Banking dropped 0.7%. The Malaysian lender said Thursday that third-quarter net profit rose 2% from a year earlier.

--Nimesh Vora

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