Asia Markets: Asian markets mixed as China-U.S. tensions tick up over Hong Kong bills

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Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday as China lashed out at the U.S. after President Donald Trump signed two bills supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators.

Trump said Wednesday he signed the bills — which received nearly unanimous support in Congress — knowing there could be repercussions, and that he set aside concerns it could derail trade talks. China on Thursday blasted the bills as “extremely evil in nature and dangerous in motive,” and threatened unspecified consequences.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.03%   inched up fractionally, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.10%   slipped slightly. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.31%   declined 0.3% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.01%   was about flat. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.25%   retreated 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.09%  , Singapore STI, -0.33%   and Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.20%   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.20%   rose 0.2%.

Among individual stocks, Panasonic 6752, +2.87%   surged in Tokyo trading after a report that it will sell its money-losing semiconductor business to Taiwan’s Nuvoton Technology 4919, +0.53%  . Rakuten 4755, +1.93%   and Hitachi 6501, +1.76%  also rose. In Hong Kong, Tencent 700, +1.43%   and Sunny Optical 2382, +1.66%   gained, while China Mobile 941, -1.63%   and casino operator Galaxy Entertainment 27, -1.96%   declined. SK Hynix 000660, +1.09%   edged up in South korea while LG Electronics 066570, -1.40%   slipped. Beach Energy BPT, +1.93%   rose in Australia, while Westpac WBC, -0.48%   inched down after Reuters reported it would refund some shareholders who bought stock before it was accused of money laundering.

U.S. stocks closed at new records Wednesday, and will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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