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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks slip amid trade worries and Hong Kong protests

Cathay and Swire Pacific slide after regulator orders restrictions on Cathay crew

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks edged lower in holiday-thinned trading on Monday, as caution over intensifying Sino-American trade tensions and mounting concerns over the fallout from weekslong protests in Hong Kong dampened sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index slipped 0.3% to 1,223.84 on Monday. Financial markets in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines were closed for local holidays.

Major U.S. equity indexes ended lower on Friday after President Donald Trump told reporters that he was not ready to make a trade deal with China, and suggested that a Sino-American meeting scheduled for September may not take place. The comments come days after he unexpectedly announced plans to impose import tariffs on more Chinese goods.

"Trump doesn't want a win win, he has always wanted a win that is better for the U.S. than China," Andrew Sullivan, a director at Pearl Bridge Partners in Hong Kong, wrote in a note.

Trading volumes in Hong Kong were subdued on Monday after anti-government protests in the city continued for a 10th weekend straight. The demonstrations, which started peacefully in June, have turned violent more recently as local police clash with activists. The protestors' demands include that the government withdraw its controversial extradition bill, conduct an independent investigation into the police's use of force during the demonstrations and implement universal suffrage.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways declined 4.9% to HK$9.80, its lowest closing since June 2009, while its controlling shareholder diversified conglomerate Swire Pacific fell 6.2%.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China on Friday barred some of Cathay's crew who had joined or supported protests in Hong Kong from flight services to the mainland. The regulator also asked the airline to submit a list of crew members to it for approval starting Aug. 11, for all flights to and from China and those that fly over Chinese airspace.

Chinese carmaker Guangzhou Automobile Group slipped 0.4% after reporting a 6.9% decrease in July sales.

In South Korea, technology heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rose 1.3% and 1.6%, respectively.

Quanta Computer, which makes MacBooks and Apple Watches for Apple, ended unchanged in Taipei even as it reported a 7.4% decline in July sales.

Compal Electronics, which makes iPads for the Cupertino, California-based company, slipped 0.3% following a 2.4% decrease in sales for last month.

Meanwhile, China Steel fell 0.4% after reporting a 12.1% drop in July sales.

--Suzannah Benjamin

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