Asian stocks rise as trade war worries worsen

BEIJING — Asian stocks gained Monday amid investor jitters the U.S.-China trade war might be worsening.Benchmarks in Shanghai and South Korea rose while Hong Kong and Australia were unchanged. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.Investors were encouraged by hopes global central banks will keep interest rates low to shore up economic growth. But they worry President Donald Trump’s impending Sept. 1 tariff hike on more Chinese imports will scuttle talks aimed at ending their trade war.Wall Street’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped as much as 1.3% Friday after Trump said it would be “fine” if trade talks next month don’t happen.”Safe havens are “still in demand on trade war anxiety,” said Alfonso Esparza of Oanda in a report. “Headwinds remain strong as a deal in the short term between the U.S. and China is a long shot.”The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7% to 2,793.67 points while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little-changed at 25,937.44.Seoul’s Kospi added 0.5% to 1,947.05 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was flat at 6,582.60. Markets in Taiwan and New Zealand declined. Exchanges in Singapore and Thailand were closed for holidays.On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended down 0.7% on Friday at 2,918.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 26,287.44 and the Nasdaq lost 1% to 7,959.14.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 18 cents per barrel to $54.33 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.94 on Friday to close at $54.40. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 13 cents to $58.40 per barrel in London. It gained $1.15 the previous session to $58.53.CURRENCY: The dollar edged down to 105.47 yen from Friday’s 105.66 yen. The euro gained to $1.1208 from $1.1201.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press

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