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Asia stocks mostly slip with US-China trade talks set to resume this week

Lisa Micheal 4 Jul 28

Stocks in Asia mostly slipped in Monday morning trade as U.S.-China negotiations resume in Beijing later this week amid low expectations for a major breakthrough.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.12%, while the Shenzhen component added 0.15%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.57%, as tensions remain high in the city following another clash between protestors and the police over the weekend. Shares of life insurer AIA declined 1.43%.

"Hong Kong I think, in a business sense, is suffering from this sort of situation," Richard Harris, chief executive at Port Shelter Investment Management, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.

"That's likely to help Singapore and it's probably likely to help the banks especially because it's so easy to move money, cash money, from one jurisdiction to another," Harris said.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.44% in morning trade, as index heavyweight and robot maker Fanuc's stock fell 1.2%. The Topix also shed 0.36%.

Shares of conglomerate Softbank Group jumped more than 1.5% after the company's Founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told the Nikkei in an interview that he expects initial public offerings of portfolio companies in its Vision Fund "almost every month" by around next year.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi dropped 1.56% as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix dropped 2.63%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200, on the other hand, rose 0.27% as most of the sectors traded higher.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.2% lower.

Meanwhile, Singapore's DBS Group on Monday, ahead of the market open, posted a 17% increase in second-quarter profit, which came in at $1.6 billion ($1.2 billion) versus $1.37 billion a year earlier, beating estimates. The stock traded 0.26% higher in the morning.

U.S.-China trade talks are also set to resume this week, with a trade delegation from Washington scheduled to fly to China on Monday for negotiations with Beijing officials. Expectations for a major breakthrough are low, however, with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow telling CNBC last Friday that he "wouldn't expect any grand deal. "

Last Friday, strong earnings and better-than-expected GDP data pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite to record highs. The S&P 500 gained 0.7% to close at 3,025.86, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to finish its trading day at 8,330.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed 51.47 points higher at 27,192.45.

More than 40% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings for the second quarter. Of those companies, 76.4% have posted a stronger-than-forecast profit, according to FactSet. The U.S. economy also expanded more than expected in the second quarter, growing 2.1% as compared to expectations of a 1.8% rise by economists surveyed in CNBC/Moody's Analytics Rapid Update.

Meanwhile, Chinese industrial profits fell in June, according the the country's National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. Industrial profits fell 3.1% in June from a year earlier, following a 1.1% gain in May.

"The slowdown in profits lines up with the soft producer prices seen earlier in the month and also suggests margins are being impacted by the US-China trade war," Tapas Strickland, an economist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.899 after rising from levels below 97.2 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.45 against the dollar after weakening from levels below 108 in the previous trading week, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6912 after slipping from levels above $0.702 last week.

Oil prices declined in the morning of Asian trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 0.35% to $63.24 per barrel and U.S. crude futures declined 0.12% to $56.13 per barrel.

Here's a look at what's coming ahead today:

  • Taiwan earnings: HTC
  • Japan earnings: Hitachi, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas

— Reuters and CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.