Wall Street muted on doubts over progress in US-China trade deal

Alibaba's books close early in $13.4 billion Hong Kong listing sources

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Despite Liu still expecting the preliminary trade deal signing, markets are not buying into it as of now, with escalating US-China political tensions over the Hong Kong bill and following the latest comments from US President Trump.

Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of China Business Wong Ping also said US enterprises will lose their most important and freest base in the Asia-Pacific if Hong Kong was rescinded its status as a separate customs territory because of the bill.

The spokesman added, "If the USA sticks to its course, China will surely take forceful measures to resolutely oppose it to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests".

And the US government has begun issuing licenses for some companies to supply goods to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's largest telecoms equipment maker whose blacklisting by the administration has been another point of contention. That also swayed markets in a positive direction. That prompted Tokyo to impose controls on exports of certain materials used to make computer chips, a critically important industry for South Korea.

The committee pointed out that the most pressing task for Hong Kong at present is to bring violence and chaos to an end and restore order, which represents the broadest will of Hong Kong people and the largest human rights in Hong Kong.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a visiting delegation in Beijing on Friday that he hoped to work toward a resolution of the 18-month-old tariff dispute with Washington.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on U.S. President Donald Trump to veto the proposed legislation, warning it could undermine trade talks between the two nations.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has called for support for Hong Kong's special status, saying that many USA businesses feared that the bill, with the sections addressing export controls and sanctions, could have counter-productive consequences on them.

The University of British Columbia's vice-president for student affairs Ainsley Carry said UBC has cancelled its second term for exchange students in protest-racked Hong Kong. Since the siege began Sunday, more than 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds of injured treated at hospitals, authorities said.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 23,112.88, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.5% to 26,595.08. The Shanghai Composite index declined 0.4% to 2,923.59.

Citigroup dropped 1.2% as financial stocks fell along with bond yields. Banks were hit by allegations by regulators that Westpac, a bank, is suspected of violating anti-money laundering laws.

Consumer product makers also fell broadly.

Before Wednesday's report, expectations of a trade deal, coupled with a fairly strong third-quarter earnings season, had helped Wall Street's main indexes scale record highs this month.

Energy sector stocks took the heaviest losses as the price of US crude oil dropped 3.2%.

The Nasdaq slid 20.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,506.21.

Benchmark crude oil picked up 11 cents to $55.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude oil fell 81 cents to settle at $57.77 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the worldwide standard, was flat at $60.91 per barrel after dropping $1.53 overnight.

The dollar fell to 108.65 Japanese yen from 108.66 yen on Thursday.

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