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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities decline as uncertainties resurface over US-China trade talks

Indian stocks fall after Moody's cuts nation's rating outlook to negative

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan declined Friday as fresh uncertainties cropped up over the U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan fell 0.8% to 1,340.31.

The losses on the gauge came alongside a decline in U.S. equity index futures amid a report by Reuters, citing multiple sources, that a proposed rollback of tariffs on Chinese goods faced internal opposition in the White House. The report came after Beijing announced that tariffs could be rolled back as part of the phase-one deal, boosting optimism of a resolution to the long-running trade conflict.

Jeffrey Halley, a senior analyst at OANDA, said that the "noise from Washington" did not match the upbeat news flow earlier and that combined with "the unpredictable nature" of President Donald Trump, it could lead to expectations regarding the deal getting moderated.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, an index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, dropped 0.5%. Data released Friday showed that China's dollar-denominated exports last month declined 0.9% from a year earlier and imports fell 6.4%.

Meanwhile, Indian equities came under pressure on Friday after Moody's Investors Service cut the rating outlook to negative from stable, while keeping the rating steady at Baa2. Moody's cited increasing risks that India's economic growth will remain materially lower than in the past.

The BSE Sensex closed 0.8% lower. Hindustan Unilever, the nation's biggest consumer company, fell 2.4% and conglomerate Reliance Industries declined 0.9%.

In other movers on the A300, Great Wall Motor advanced 3.6% after the Chinese automaker reported a 4.5% increase in total sales in October. Its peers Guangzhou Automobile Group rose 3.5% and Dongfeng Motor Group ended 2.1% higher.

Electric carmaker BYD added 3% after saying it signed a joint venture agreement with Japan's Toyota Motor to establish a research and development company focused on battery-powered electric vehicles.

Personal computer maker Lenovo Group lost 3.8%, extending Thursday's losses after it reported second-quarter earnings. The company also warned that a shortage of components that has hobbled growth could persist into the first half of next year.

Cathay Pacific Airways dropped 1.2%. The company's majority owner Swire Pacific said it no longer expects Cathay Pacific to achieve better results in the second half of 2019, as compared with the first half. Shares of Swire Pacific edged 0.1% higher.

Casino operator Genting Singapore fell 2.1% after its third-quarter net profit declined 24.5% on-year.

United Breweries climbed 1.3% after the Indian beer maker reported a 7.6% year-on-year increase in net sales for the September quarter. Net profit declined 30% in the period.

Singapore Exchange closed 0.7% higher. Singapore's total securities market turnover rose 9% on month in October to S$21.6 billion ($16 billion), the company said Friday.

-- Nimesh Vora

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