Asian markets fall as China reports slowdown in exports – MarketWatch

Shares fell in Asia on Monday, extending the latest losses on Wall Street, as China reported a sharp slowdown in exports.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index HSI, -1.38%   lost 1.4% while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.71%   fell 0.7%. The Kospi SEU, -0.53%   in South Korea declined 0.5% and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, -0.02%  finished flat. Shares also fell 0.5% in Taiwan Y9999, -0.52%  . Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, oil producer CNOOC 0883, -4.68%   and tech giant Tencent 0700, -2.84%   fell nearly 5% and 2.8%, respectively in Hong Kong trading, chip maker SK Hynix 000660, -4.61%   fell over 4% in South Korea and Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -0.91%   slipped close to 1% in Taiwan.

China said Monday that its exports to the U.S. contracted in December although its overall trade surplus with the U.S. hit a record $323 billion in 2018. Exports to the U.S. rose 11.3% to $478.4 billion for the year despite punitive tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. The customs data showed imports of American goods rose just 0.7% over 2017, reflecting the impact of Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.

U.S. stock indexes finished a hair lower on Friday after the falling price of oil weighed on energy companies. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.01%   nevertheless closed out its third straight winning week following a brutal stretch in December, edging 0.1% lower to 2,596.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.02%   dipped less than 0.1% to 23,995.95 and the Nasdaq composite COMP, -0.21%   lost 0.2% to 6,971.48.

“Risk has continued to veer averse today as pre-earnings jitters amid a torrent of turbulent crosscurrents have investors adopting a more

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