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Asian shares skid as Huawei CFO arrest revives trade jitters

Asian stock prices skidded Thursday following the arrest of a senior official at Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei that could derail progress in China-U.S. trade talks.

KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 2.7 percent to 26,081.73 and Japan‘s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 2.5 percent to 21,373.83. Australia‘s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent to 5,657.60, while South Korea’s Kospi sank 1.6 percent to 2,068.56. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.7 percent to 2,6043.91. Shares also fell in Taiwan and all other regional markets.

WALL STREET: Markets were closed in the U.S. on Wednesday for a day of mourning following the death of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. The future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.3 percent to 24,712.00 and the future for the S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent to 2,668.30.

HUAWEI: The news of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest sent shares sharply lower. Share prices rallied early in the week following President Donald Trump’s agreement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping over the weekend to hold off on further retaliatory moves in a festering trade war. But they’ve since fallen back amid confusion over what the two sides agreed to and whether the deal will enable Beijing and Washington to resolve longstanding, profound differences over technology policy and other issues. China demanded Meng’s immediate release and warned the case might lead to retaliation against American and Canadian executives in China.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “We are closely watching the developments in Asia after reports that Canada has arrested the Huawei CFO facing U.S. extradition for allegedly violating Iran sanctions. This headline is quite significant as the U.S. government is attempting to persuade allies to stop using Huawei equipment due to security fears, and this headline could weigh negatively on tech stocks,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading at Oanda in Singapore.

TECHNOLOGY STOCK: Technology shares declined, with Japan’s Nintendo Co. down 4.3 percent; Samsung Electronics Co. lost 1.8 percent; ZTE Corp. declined 5.8 percent and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. dropped 4.6 percent in morning trading.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 55 cents to $52.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 0.7 percent to $52.89 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 52 cents to $61.06 per barrel.

CURRENCY: The dollar slipped to 112.70 yen from 113.20 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1349 from $1.1343.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en

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