HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan ended little changed on Wednesday on worries over the growth outlook amid a further inversion in the U.S. Treasury yield curve.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index closed at 1,217.01, barely changed from yesterday's close of 1,217.03.
Two factors are currently at the center of moves in risk assets: developments on the U.S.-China trade feud and the shape of the Treasury yield curve. After Beijing and Washington slapped a new round of tariffs on each other's shipments last Friday, investors have had to contend with conflicting messages. President Donald Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have indicated there has been contact between officials of the two countries since then, but Beijing has denied any interaction. China's foreign ministry reiterated yesterday it had not heard of any recent telephone call and said it hopes Washington can stop its wrong actions and create conditions for talks, Reuters reported.
The U.S. has said that with effect from Sept. 1, it will be imposing tariffs on additional Chinese goods and Beijing in response will be levying new tariffs on $75 billion of American goods.
Meanwhile, the Treasury yield curve is moving further into inversion territory, indicating that investors are worried about where growth is headed amid mounting trade concerns. The yield demanded by traders on the 10-year Treasury benchmark bond was around four basis points less than that of the 2-year note, an indicator that the economy is expected to slow down.
Capital Economics said it continues to expect that equities "will struggle much more over the rest of the year as investors adjust to the prospect of a long trade war and more weakness in the global economy."
Chinese carmakers were among the top performers on the A300 on Wednesday. Great Wall Motor rose 2.2% and Guangzhou Automobile Group added 1.7%. China's cabinet on Tuesday announced it is exploring methods to boost consumption in Asia's largest economy, including easing restrictions on car purchases.
Hyundai Motor ended 2% higher. The company and its South Korean union reached a tentative wage deal without resorting to a strike for the first time in eight years, Reuters reported, citing a union spokesman.
Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker ZTE climbed 1% after reporting a profit for the first half of the year, compared with a loss a year earlier. Revenue for the period rose 13.1%.
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International jumped 4% following a 10.9% year-on-year increase in first-half profit and a 57.4% surge in revenue.
Telekom Malaysia added 3.3% after reporting a 12% increases in second-quarter net profit.
MMC climbed 0.9% after the Malaysian utility and infrastructure conglomerate reported a three-fold jump in second quarter net profit.
Hong Leong Financial Group declined 1.2%. The Malaysian financial conglomerate reported a 3% increases in fourth-quarter net profit.