Asian stock indexes mixed as Trump uncertainties mount
TOKYO: Asian shares were mixed Tuesday as uncertainty mounted over US President Donald Trump's trade and regulatory policies.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6 percent to 18,787.99. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7 percent to 5,650.10. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 2,062.24. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent to 22,942.03, while the Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.2 percent to 3,144.75. Benchmarks rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, but fell in the Philippines.
SAMSUNG NEWS: Samsung Electronics gained nearly 0.3 percent after reporting fourth-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier on strong memory-chip and smartphone sales, despite its costly Galaxy Note 7 recalls. The South Korean company has said tests found defects in two sets of batteries from two different manufacturers that made the devices prone to catching fire.
TRADE WORRIES: Many Asian nations rely on exports to keep their economies going, so Trump's latest moves on trade and regulations raised concerns over future access to the US market. Trump signed a memorandum saying the US will withdraw from the Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He also said he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
THE QUOTE: "The lack of any key US economic data overnight had dealers focused exclusively on the Trump administration's trade policy and the signing of the executive order to pull out of the TPP," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda, of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.40 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,799.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 6.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,265.20. The Nasdaq composite index lost 2.39 points, or 0.04 percent, to 5,552.94. The Russell 2000, which tracks smaller companies, gave up 4.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,347.84.
ENERGY: Benchmark US crude added 21 cents to $52.96. It fell 47 cents to close at $52.75 per barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 28 cents $55.51 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: In currency markets, the dollar declined to 113.00 yen from 113.62 yen late Monday in Asia. The euro rose to $1.0754 from $1.0743.