Asia Markets: Asian markets muted on lower expectations for U.S.-China trade talks

Asian markets were muted in early trading Friday, as investors appeared to be readjusting their expectations about trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

As high-level meetings between the world’s two largest economies were being conducted in Washington, President Donald Trump kept expectations low, saying China had become “spoiled” and that he doubted negotiations would be successful.

Japan’s Nikkei index NIK, +0.25%   was up slightly, putting it on pace for an eighth straight week of gains. Rising yields on U.S. Treasurys boosted Japanese insurance companies, with T&D Holdings Inc. 8795, +1.68%   and Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. 8750, +0.72%   posting early gains. A weakening yen also helped Japanese manufacturing companies, with equipment maker SMC Corp. 6273, +3.20%  up almost 3% and robot-maker Fanuc Corp. 6954, +1.20%   up about 1.5%.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.33%   advanced, following gains by Samsung Electronics 005930, +0.30%  . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.12%   was teetering between gains and losses, while the index’s energy sector hit a three-year high. Woodside Petroleum WPL, +0.50%   , Santos STO, +1.29%   and Oil Search OSH, +0.47%   all were in the green. Stocks in New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.22%   were up, though not enough to make up for losses earlier this week.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.04%   was down a fraction, as was China’s Shanghai SHCOMP, +0.23%   and Shenzhen 399106, -0.11%   composites. Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -0.39%   was last down more than 0.4%.

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