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Asian Stocks Close Mixed as Investors Await Outcome of OPEC Meeting

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as worries about a potential trade war persisted and investors waited for the outcome of the OPEC meeting.

Chinese shares rose but posted their worst weekly loss since early February on worries over a continuing trade dispute with the U.S. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 14.14 points or 0.459 percent to 2.889.95 but ended the week down about 4 percent.

Trade worries lingered after Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng accused the U.S. of using bullying tactics and blackmail in threatening to impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports.

Separately, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the end goal of the trade negotiations is to reduce high trade barriers and tariffs for U.S. firms.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 42.65 points or 0.2 percent to 29,338.70. Hong Kong’s consumer price inflation climbed an annual 2.1 percent in May, faster than the 1.9 percent rise seen in April, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares fell as a firmer yen and tariff concerns pulled down automakers. The Nikkei 225 Index lost 176.21 points or 0.8 percent to finish at 22,516.83, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 1,744.83.

Honda Motor gave up 2 percent and Toyota shed 2.7 percent after German automaker Daimler issued a profit warning, citing the escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China.

Shipping firms Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen fell around 1 percent each on worries that a trade war may hurt the global economy.

On the data front, Japanese consumer price inflation rose by 0.7 percent year-on-year in May, government data indicated, matching expectations.

Australian markets fell modestly even as banks climbed after ANZ doubled its share buyback program. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 6.90 points or 0.1 percent to 6,225.20 after finishing almost one percent higher the previous day. The broader All Ordinaries Index eased 0.2 percent to close at 6,322.10.

ANZ rallied 2.9 percent after doubling its share buyback program to A$3 billion. The other three banks rose over 1 percent each on a weaker Aussie dollar.

On the other hand, mining and energy stocks closed broadly lower, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Santos losing 1-3 percent.

Telecom giant Telstra dropped 1.5 percent to extend losses from the previous session after announcing its plan to cut 8,000 jobs.

Outdoor advertising company APN Outdoor Group declined 2.4 percent as it raised its takeover bid for rival Here, There & Everywhere’s Ashdel advertising unit to A$540 million from an initial A$500 million.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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