HONG KONG — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Friday as investors remained cautious amid U.S. political uncertainty. Weak U.S. retail data added to worry over consumer spending.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.7 percent to 19,823.28 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 percent to 2,288.39. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent higher to 25,141.13 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China was 0.4 percent higher at 3,072.01. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.7 percent to 5,836.90.
TRUMP’S TROUBLES: The continuing fallout over President Donald Trump’s unprecedented firing of FBI Director James Comey is making investors wary of taking on more risk and raises questions about whether he can follow through on his business-friendly agenda, analysts said.
QUOTEWORTHY: “The political noise continues to escalate over Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA. “This storyline has clearly rattled equity investors, given this political cloud could cripple the fragile support for Trump’s tax policy.”
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