Asia Markets: Asian markets little changed as investors weigh trade-war developments

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Asian markets were muted in early trading Tuesday amid positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

President Donald Trump said Monday that trade negotiations on a “phase one” deal are going faster than expected, and said the deal would “take care of “ U.S. farmers and bankers. Later in the day, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it is considering extending tariff exemptions that were approved last December on $34 billion in Chinese goods.

The news did not boost Chinese stocks though. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.41%   slipped 0.3% after administrator Carrie Lam said the ongoing pro-democracy protests risked sending the city into recession, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.87%   fell 0.4% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.94%   retreated 0.3%. Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.47%   rose 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.04%   slipped 0.2%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.17%  , Singapore STI, +0.30%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.19%   were up slightly. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.07%   was little changed.

Among individual stocks, Mazda Motor 7261, +2.29%   and Kobe Steel 5406, +2.70%   gained in Tokyo trading while Canon 7751, -0.80%   fell. In Hong Kong, food processor WH Group 288, +6.27%   surged while HSBC 5, -1.24%   and Tencent 700, -1.30%   dropped. Samsung 005930, -0.39%   inched down in South Korea, while BHP BHP, +1.24%   and Rio Tinto RIO, +1.04%   gained in Australia.

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