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Nikkei Markets

Asian shares fall on concerns US-China trade dispute set to worsen

Property developers listed in Hong Kong among the biggest losers

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan declined Friday on renewed concerns the U.S.-China trade dispute could worsen amid a report that Washington was holding off a decision on granting licenses that would allow American companies to do business with China's Huawei Technologies.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index ended 0.2% lower at 1,227.65.

The A300 Index reversed earlier gains as Bloomberg reported that the U.S. is putting off a decision on providing licenses to companies that would allow them to recommence business with Huawei. The gauge's advance earlier in the day came after the S&P 500 Index rose for the third day yesterday to recoup all of its losses suffered at the beginning of the week. After the benchmark U.S. gauge had tumbled 3% on Monday amid worries over a weaker Chinese currency, the index climbed 3.3% from Tuesday to Thursday.

President Donald Trump had softened his stance on Huawei following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in June. Following that, there were reports that the U.S. may approve licenses for American companies to recommence sales to Huawei.

The decision to hold off on Huawei licenses came after China earlier this week halted purchases of U.S. farm products, which in turn was a response to President Trump's proposal to tax $300 billion of more Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, China earlier in the day reported that consumer prices rose 2.8% on-year in July, quicker than the 2.7% expected by economists polled by Reuters. Producer prices declined from a year earlier, but at a lesser-than-expected pace.

Property developers listed in Hong Kong were among the biggest losers on Friday. Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 1.9% and China Overseas Land & Investment lost 0.8%. Local developers have been among the hardest hit stocks in Hong Kong amid the ongoing protests.

In movers on the A300, Great Wall Motor advanced 1.2% after July sales volume increased 11% from a year earlier.

China Mobile climbed 2.9%. The world's largest mobile phone services provider is pursuing new growth drivers to alleviate the pressure on its traditional revenue streams as it gears up for a commercial rollout of fifth-generation internet services. The company yesterday reported a 15% decline in first-half net profit.

Hong Kong-listed casino operators Galaxy Entertainment Group fell 1.7% and Sands China declined 1.4%. On Friday, Sands China said its net profit for the first half of the year rose nearly 9%.

Emart declined 1.4% after the South Korean retailer reported an operating loss compared with a profit a year ago.

--Nimesh Vora

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