SYDNEY- Asian shares reversed gains on Monday, the yen ticked higher and gold jumped as fresh violence broke out in Hong Kong, while uncertainty still remained over whether the United States and China could end their damaging trade war.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led the losses in Asia, down more than 1 percent, after police fired live rounds at protestors on the eastern side of Hong Kong island. Cable TV and other Hong Kong media reported at least one protester being wounded. Video footage showed a protester lying in a pool of blood.
Chinese shares too started lower with the blue-chip CSI300 index down 0.6 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.7 percent
Japan’s Nikkei gave up early gains to drift away from a recent 13-month high after data showed the country’s core machinery orders fell for a third straight month.
Australian shares bucked the downbeat trend, rising 0.5 percent to a two-week high.
That left MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.5 percent.
“The China-US trade war and the Hong Kong protest are combining to cast a negative pall on Asian markets today,” said James McGlew, analyst at stockbroking firm Argonaut.
“Hong Kong protests have been dragging on for a while and the view from the financial world is that it’s really starting to bite now. The further this drags on it’s certainly going to be very negative.”
Gold, which rises during times of uncertainty, rebounded from a three-month low touched on Friday to be last up 0.4 percent at $1,463.5 an ounce.
In currencies, the Japanese yen gained on the dollar to 109.11 while the Australian dollar, a liquid gauge for risk, was off slightly at $0.6855.
The dollar index was mostly flat at 98.353 as was the euro at $1.102.
Market attention was also on the US-China trade talks.
US President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that talks with China had moved more slowly than he would have liked, but added that Beijing wanted a deal more than he did. – Reuters