Shares slipped on Thursday in Asia following moderate declines on Wall Street as fearfully mounted over the possibility that the US and China might not reach a trade deal until next year.
Hong Kong led the region with its benchmark Hang Seng Index
falling 1.6%. Shanghai Composite Index
lost 0.4%, while Japan's Nikkei 225
gave up 0.8%.
A published report suggested that a preliminary "Phase 1" pact cannot be completed this year as dealers continue to fight for differences. The Reuters report cited a named Trump administration official who said it was possible that an agreement might not be reached, but more likely that it would.
The comments prompted investors who are already rumored of the potential blow to talks from US congressional resolutions that expressed support for human rights in Hong Kong, where political protests have dragged on for months.
China condemned moves by US lawmakers to throw their support behind the protesters in Hong Kong, threatening "strong countermeasures." The early price action this morning suggests that the cautious ride to the exit can be an unruly one for themselves, "said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda in a comment.
Investors have hoped the world's two largest economies can make a deal before new and more damaging tariffs come into force on December 15, at about $ 160 billion in Chinese imports, which will cover smartphones, laptops and other consumer goods.
Beijing wants Washington to agree to a wider roll-out of Chinese goods.  "If a deal is not going to be made before the end of the year, then suddenly this uncertainty comes about what is going to happen around December 15," said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments. “Are the tariffs back on the table again? The market has certainly come to expect that they will not happen. ”
In other Asian trade, South Korea's Kospi
drops 1.3%, Australia's S&P ASX 200
lost 0.7% and benchmark indices in Taiwan
Among individual stocks, chip maker Tokyo Electron fell
sank in Tokyo trade, as did Screen Holdings
. In Hong Kong, Wharf Real Estate
and AIA Group
and SK Hynix
fell in South Korea, while Beach Energy
retired in Australia.
On Wall Street overnight, technology stocks made the biggest losses, along with communications services and industrial stocks. Energy stocks notched big gains as crude oil prices rebound.
The sale nudged the major US stock indices of their recent highs of all time.
The S&P 500 Index
fell 0.4% to 3 108.46. Dow Jones industrial average
lost 0.4% to 27,821.09, while Nasdaq
slipped 0.5% to 8.526.73.
Increasing optimism among investors that the United States and China had made progress toward a limited trade contract helped pave the way for market gains in recent weeks, including a number of highlights over the years for the major stock indices.
That optimism dimmed Wednesday as investors weighed the consequences of several tariffs over the next month.
The two countries have raised billions of dollars in billions of each other's goods in the fight for China's trade surplus and technological ambitions. This is weighing on trade worldwide and threatening to depress corporate earnings and global economic growth, which has already shown signs of slowing.
CLZ19, + 3.08%
throw out 11 cents to $ 56.90 per barrel in e-commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It raised $ 1.66 on Wednesday to make up to $ 57.01 a barrel. Burnt crude oil
the international standard, raised $ 15 to $ 62.25.
slipped to 108.52 Japanese yen from 108.59 yen on Wednesday.