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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks fall as Trump blacklists China's Huawei

Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor, Tencent drag down A300 index

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares fell Thursday after President Donald Trump took steps to ban U.S. firms from doing business with Chinese telecommunication company Huawei Technologies, exacerbating tensions with Beijing.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan fell 0.4% to 1,272.17.

U.S. equity index futures signaled that Wall Street could come under pressure on Thursday after Trump signed an executive order than allows Washington to ban the use of information and communications technology or services in the U.S. that pose a risk to national security.

The Department of Commerce, following the executive order by Trump, said it was adding Huawei to its "Entity List," banning the company from buying components and technology from U.S. firms without approval.

Huawei on Thursday said the order will serve to harm American interests and infringe on the company's "rights and raise serious legal issues." Hong Kong shares of Huawei's rival ZTE dropped 6.1% and that in Shenzhen declined 2.9%.

Trump's latest step risks further aggravating a trade spat between the U.S. and China. Relations between the world's two largest economies are already strained after Washington increased tariffs on $200 billion worth Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated by announcing plans to raise duties on a wide variety of American goods.

In other movers on Thursday, Tencent Holdings declined 2.3%. The mobile-gaming company on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected 17% on-year increase in first-quarter net profit, but the 16% increase in revenue fell short of some estimates. Samsung Electronics dropped 2.4% and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slid 0.8%. They, along with Tencent, were among the biggest contributors to the losses on the A300 index.

Hong Kong-shares of Ping An Insurance Group climbed 0.7% after reporting an 8.4% increase in gross premium income from life insurance and health insurance businesses for the January-to-April period.

Air China rose 0.7% after saying its number of passengers increased 2.1% in April from a year earlier. China Eastern Airlines edged 0.2% higher following a 2.5% increase in passengers last month.

Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group dropped 1.7% after net revenue for the first quarter fell 8% on-year amid tightening of smoking norms in Macau and rising competition.

Thai Airways International fell 5.1% after total revenue in the March quarter declined 6.9% and net profit slumped 83%.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's economy grew by 4.5% in the March quarter, quicker than the 4.3% expected by economists polled by Reuters.

The country's central bank on Thursday announced a slew of measures aimed at allowing participants greater flexibility in managing foreign exchange risks and trade in federal bonds. These measures come amid potential exclusion of Malaysian federal bonds from the FTSE Russell's World Government Bond Index. FTSE Russell said in April that it would review Malaysia's market accessibility level in the index due to concerns over liquidity.

The Malaysian ringgit advanced 0.2% to 4.163, its best performance in about one month.

--Nimesh Vora

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