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Asia stocks decline after US government shutdown

Asia stocks decline after US government shutdown

Asian markets traded lower early on Monday after the US government was forced to shut down amid a dispute between President Donald Trump and Democrats over immigration.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.2% while Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.21%. Automakers in Tokyo were mixed. Toyota declined 0.66% while Mitsubishi Motors tacked on 1.04%.

Technology stocks traded mostly higher, with Sony rising 1.09% and SoftBank Group advancing 0.71%.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi declined 1.04% as index heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 2.11% in early trade. Other technology stocks also fell, with chipmaker SK Hynix declining 1.77% and LG Display slipping 0.49%.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 gave up gains seen earlier in the session to trade lower by 0.14%. The heavily-weighted financials sector fell 0.51%, weighing on the broader index. Shares of Commonwealth Bank sank 1.1%.

National Australia Bank is reportedly considering spinning out its wealth arm for a potential listing, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing sources. NAB shares were lower by 0.41%.

The manufacturing, finance and retail sectors traded lower for the most part, with steelmaker Posco losing 2.72% and Lotte Shopping edging lower by 0.43%.

In Greater China, the Hang Seng Index was fell 0.11%, while on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.18%.

Republican and Democratic leaders of the US Senate held talks on Sunday seeking to break the impasse that has kept the US government shut down for two days, but it was unclear if a deal could be struck to reopen federal agencies by the start of the work week.

While many see minimal impact on the economy from a short-term government shutdown, analysts say a prolonged stalemate in Washington could dampen investors’ confidence in U.S. assets.

In the foreign exchange market, the dollar’s index against a basket of major currencies dropped about 0.2% from late last week to 90.465, edging back toward its three-year low of 90.104 touched on Wednesday.


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