Asia follows Wall St lower as US and Chinese foreign ministers meet

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street’s decline on Monday after top U.S. and Chinese diplomats agreed to cooperate in a meeting held at a time of friction over a series of disputes.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul fell. Sydney won. Oil prices fell nearly $1.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.4% on Friday after the Federal Reserve kept its key rate stable, but warned last week that it could be raised later if necessary to calm inflation. .

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang held what the Chinese government called “frank, comprehensive and constructive talks” at a time when relations are at their lowest in decades. . They indicated a willingness to cooperate on major issues, but did not indicate progress on disputes over Taiwan, human rights, technology and security.

“It remains to be seen whether this will lead to any actual positive results,” IG’s Yeap Jun Rong said in a report. “Any inaction on this front could still see any optimism crumble eventually.”

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,262.59 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3% to 33,591.82. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.6% to 19,915.51.

Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.8% to 2,605.46 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 7,277.70. New Zealand, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok also fell.

On Friday, the S&P 500 fell to 4,409.59 but closed a fifth consecutive weekly gain. It is near a 14-month high after rising 15% this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3% to 34,299.12. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.7% to 13,689.57.

Humana fell 3.9% for one of the largest losses in the S&P 500 after becoming the latest health insurer to warn of rising costs due to pent-up demand for medical services. Health insurance giant UnitedHealth issued a similar warning earlier.

Last week, the Fed kept its key rate stable, the first time in 10 consecutive monthly meetings that it did not announce an increase.

The Fed, however, has warned that it could raise rates up to twice this year. Wall Street is betting on a rate hike at its next meeting on July 25-26.

A survey conducted on Friday suggested that US consumers are also lowering their expectations for future inflation. Preliminary reading of the University of Michigan survey also suggested that consumer sentiment is strengthening more than expected.

Chemical company Cabot fell 8.1% after saying weak demand globally, and particularly in China, would hurt profits this year.

Software maker Adobe rose 0.9% after posting strong financial results and raising its profit forecast.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell $1 to $70.93 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.16 on Friday to $71.78. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, fell $1.16 to $75.45 a barrel in London. It was up 94 cents the previous session at $76.61.

The dollar rose to 141.93 yen from 141.80 yen on Friday. The euro fell slightly to $1.0939 from $1.0943.

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