Asian markets slipped on Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs figures dented sentiment. Investors were also keeping an eye on President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia, where he is expected to discuss North Korean nuclear issues with leaders in the region.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 22,541.55, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.9 percent to 2,536.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slumped 1.4 percent to 28,214.79 and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent to 3,361.21. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.2 percent to 5,948.40. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mixed.
TRUMP IN TOKYO: Trump is on his first presidential visit to Asia this week with Japan as his first stop. In his remarks to business leaders in Japan’s capital, Trump emphasized that the U.S. has massive trade deficits with Japan and that he hopes to turn that around. He also said his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will prove “to be right.” Trump is due to visit South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines in coming days. While denuclearizing North Korea is to top his agenda during the visits, trade and business issues will also be discussed.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “While we have very light U.S. economic diary this week, there will be no lack of political bluster as the U.S. tax reform debate rages while Trump deals with North Korean nuclear ambitions and regional trade relations during his whirlwind tour of Asia,” Stephen Innes, head of trading at OANDA, said in a daily commentary. “But make no mistake the focus is squarely on North Korea headlines.”
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