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Asian Markets Fall; Hong Kong Underperform After Weekend of Protests

Investing.com - Asian markets fell in morning trade on Monday. Hong Kong stocks underperformed after three days of demonstration as political unrest in the city continues.


The Hang Seng Index was down 1.2% to 28,051 by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT). The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, which reports to China’s cabinet, will brief on Hong Kong’s political unrest later in the day. It was a first since the end of British colonial rule in 1997, according to the South China Morning Post.


Thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Hong Kong over the weekend to voice their opinion against Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her proposed bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. At least 49 people were arrested, according to a government statement.


Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, said in a blog post on Saturday that many local retail and cater businesses are beginning to experience a “sharp decline” in business.


“For foreign tourists and enterprises, the unrest in Hong Kong dampens their appetite for traveling and investment,” Chan said in translated comments. If the movement lasts, he said, “everyone’s employment and livelihood will be at stake.”


China’s Shanghai Composite and the SZSE Component were both down 0.2%. The country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed on Saturday that profits earned by Chinese industrial firms were down 3.1% in June from a year earlier.


Chinese and U.S. officials will gather Tuesday for two days of trade talks, according to reports, which suggested neither side is expecting much hope for a breakthrough.


Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5%. The country’s retail sales rose 0.5% in June from a year earlier, government data showed on Monday. Bank of Japan rate decision and Governor Haruhiko Kuroda briefing are due Tuesday.


South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 1.7%.


Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.3%.


In the U.S., Fed officials begin their two-day meeting on monetary policy in Washington Tuesday. Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference following the FOMC’s decision Wednesday. On the data front, U.S. July jobs report is due on Friday.

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