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Asian Markets Mixed; Samsung Flags First Profit Drop in Two Years

Investing.com - Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Tuesday, as investors awaited the outcome of fresh talks on trade. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) received some focus after the company said it estimated a 29% drop in quarterly operating profit.

Samsung estimated profit at 10.8 trillion won ($9.67 billion) for October-December last year, down 29% from the same period a year earlier. Samsung said the drop was due to weak memory chip demand. It was the company’s first profit decline in two years, according to Reuters.

"We expect earnings to remain subdued in the first quarter of 2019 due to difficult conditions for the memory business," the company said. The company would release detailed earnings later in January.

South Korea’s KOSPI was little changed at 2,037.21 at 9:50 PM ET (02:50 GMT).

Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.1%, while the Shenzhen Component edged up 0.2%.

Trade talks between the U.S. and China remained in focus after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted on Monday that Beijing and Washington could reach a trade deal that "we can live with".

“There’s a very good chance that we’ll get a reasonable settlement that China can live with, that we can live with, and that addresses all the key issues,” Ross told CNBC in an interview on Monday.

A new round of trade talks began in Beijing this week, while the South China Morning Post reported on Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to hold talks with Wang Qishan, China’s vice president, at the World Economic Forum later this month in Davos.

Meanwhile, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is making his fourth visit to China. Kim left Pyongyang on Monday for a visit that is slated to end Thursday, the report said.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.1% in morning trade. Softbank Group Corp. (T:9984) made headlines after Reuters reported that the company would inject another $2 billion in WeWork Cos Inc in 2019.

Citing two people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported on Tuesday that Softbank would announce the new investment as early as Tuesday.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 was unchanged at 5,683.2.

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