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Nikkei Markets

Nikkei Asia300 ends week lower amid geopolitical and trade tensions

Chinese oil companies post weekly losses while Lenovo climbs

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan logged a small weekly loss, with geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and North Korea and Sino-American trade relations clouding investor sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.2% to 1,398.42 on Friday, but ended 0.4% lower for the week. Risk appetite waned after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a planned meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, saying the isolated state had displayed "tremendous anger and open hostility." He said he looks forward to meeting Kim "someday." In response, North Korea's vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan said they are willing to "sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format."

"The market is waking up to the fact the historic summit between the U.S. and North Korea will not play out like a Hollywood blockbuster but a long Korean drama series," Eli Lee, head of investment strategy at Bank of Singapore, wrote in a note. "The ball is now in President Trump's court. Given his desire for eventual talks, the market correction may have been premature, in our view. We advise for clients not to overreact, but stay engaged and nimble in the market."

Personal-computer maker Lenovo Group jumped 6.9% in Hong Kong on Friday. On Thursday, company executives at a press conference in the city said they expect its mobile business unit to turn a profit this financial year as it seeks to trim costs. It surged 10.9% this week.

Energy producers declined on Friday, with Hong Kong-listed Chinese offshore oil producer CNOOC dropping 3.5% and PetroChina losing 3% after U.S. crude futures declined 1.6% overnight. The stocks fell 9.3% and 7.1% during the week.

AirAsia, the largest discount carrier in Southeast Asia, edged 0.3% lower in Kuala Lumpur. On Thursday, the airline reported an 85.4% surge in first-quarter net profit thanks to a gain from selling its stake in a unit.

Malaysian utilities-to-hotel conglomerate YTL added 1.5% despite reporting a 52.4% drop in fiscal third-quarter net profit. Quarterly revenue rose 4.4% on year.

IHH Healthcare climbed 1.3%. The hospital operator on Friday reported an 87.8% slump in first-quarter net profit due to the absence of a one-time gain from a divestment. Revenue during the period rose 6%.

Industrial-computer maker Advantech rose 1.2% in Taipei. The company said it plans to sell 5.85 million shares of its unit LNC Technology for a total of NT$146.3 million ($4.9 million).

Samsung Electronics rose 2.5% in Seoul. A U.S. jury on Thursday said Samsung should pay Apple $539 million for copying patented smartphone features, technology publication CNET reported.

United Breweries ended 0.5% higher in Mumbai after rising as much as 7.5% earlier. The beer maker reported an over 13-fold jump in fourth-quarter profit and a 32% increase in revenue.

Natural-gas distributor GAIL (India) advanced 4.2% after a 5.1% drop on Thursday. The company on Thursday reported a near quadrupling of its March quarter net income as its year-ago profit was hurt by impairment charges on investments. Net income for the quarter ended in March stood at 10.2 billion rupees ($149 million), missing the 13.55-billion-rupee estimate compiled by Reuters.

--V. Phani Kumar

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