Asian shares mixed as Trump talks down US dollar

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after President Donald Trump withdrew a threat to declare China a currency manipulator. Trump’s comment that the U.S. dollar was getting too strong helped push the yen higher, hurting Japanese exporters’ shares.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.1 percent to 18,341.85 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.1 percent to 24,296.85. The Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1 percent higher to 3,277.88 and India’s Sensex shed 0.2 percent to 29,594.95. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.9 percent to 5,882.40 while Seoul’s Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,139.44. Taiwan gained, while Singapore, Jakarta and New Zealand slipped.

WALL STREET: Industrial, materials and energy companies led U.S. stocks modestly lower before markets were due to be closed Friday for a holiday. That extended losses for the month as investors waited for a round of earnings reports to start this week. Utilities, phone companies and other high-dividend stocks were among the biggest gainers. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 20,591.86 and the Nasdaq composite index lost 0.5 percent, to 5,836.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 0.4 percent, to 2,344.93.

TRUMP WATCH: Trump said he won’t declare China a currency manipulator, dropping a key campaign promise. In a newspaper interview and a White House news conference, Trump hailed the rapport he developed with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in meetings last week that seem to have eased trade tensions. A declaration that China manipulates the exchange rate of its yuan to gain a trade advantage could have opened the way to sanctions. “They’re not currency manipulators,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal, saying Beijing hadn’t been cheating on its currency for months.

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