Asian shares fall ahead of US-China trade talks

TOKYO — Asian shares are lower Friday as investors continued to watch the brewing trade conflict between China and the U.S., and any signs of what's in store from central banks.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 0.6% to 21,637.21 in morning trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 6,792.20. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.8% to 2,058.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down nearly 0.6% to 28,424.89, while the Shanghai Composite edged down 0.2% to 2,932.52.

"Investors continue to digest green shoots of upcoming U.S.-China trade talks amid persisting anxiety about the likely turn economic policies in the developed world take. The ECB failed to deliver any easing yesterday and the focus now shifts to the Fed policy," Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal, analysts at ING, wrote in their report.

U.S. and Chinese envoys are set to meet in Shanghai next week for talks aimed at ending a tariff war.

China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that Chinese companies are willing to import more U.S. farm goods.

That announcement followed President Donald Trump's criticism that Beijing was backsliding on a promise to narrow its trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American farm products.

U.S. stocks retreated from record highs on Wall Street Thursday as large companies delivered weak earnings and disappointing forecasts.

The S&P 500 index fell 15.89 points, or 0.5%, to 3,003.67. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 128.99 points, or 0.5%, to 27,140.98. The Nasdaq composite fell 82.96 points, or 1%, to 8,238.54.

More than 36% of S&P 500 companies have reported their latest financial results and investors are still expecting a contraction in overall profit. That would mark the second quarter in a row of lower earnings.

ENERGY:

Benchmark crude oil gained 9 cents to $56.11 a barrel. It rose 14 cents to settle at $56.02 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, fell 3 cents to $63.23 a barrel.

CURRENCIES:

The dollar rose to 108.66 Japanese yen from 108.10 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1148 from $1.1108.

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