Asian stock markets fall as Trump hardens stance against China

Beijing's top trade negotiator Liu He warned of retaliatory measures after the United States imposed further tariffs on imports from China

USA stocks are on track for their longest string of consecutive daily losses since a five-session skid ended March 8, as Sino-American tariff tensions have buffeted assets perceived as risky, catching many investors who had anticipated a tidy pact to the protracted talks coming to fruition soon.

A wave of selling swept through Wall Street Monday after China announced retaliatory tariffs on USA goods with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tanking more than 600 points or 2.4 percent lower, and with more blood on the horizon set for the rest of the week. The S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,834.41 as tech shares outperformed. The Hang Seng Index sank 1.7 per cent while Shanghai shed 0.7 per cent and Tokyo ended down 0.6 per cent, marking its seventh straight loss.

The market had also seemed to shrug off the news that growth in China's industrial output had slowed more than expected, Ms Lee said.

In the last five trading sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average deceased 4.21 percent, while S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 4.11 percent and 5.86 percent, respectively. Bank of America dropped 4.6% and JPMorgan Chase fell 2.9%. The VIX, however, is still far below the elevated levels it reached at the end of past year when the S&P 500 came extremely close to entering a bear market, meaning a decline of 20% or more from a recent peak.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1%.

"Ongoing trade flare-ups may continue to swing the stocks in the near-term, but we think the market may have priced a lot of this in", Citi said.

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Gold mining companies were some of the few stocks making gains amid the broad market slump as the price of gold, another safe-play asset, rose 1% to $1,301 an ounce.

Other investments deemed as safe havens dropped, such as USA government bonds and gold. Shares in Webster (ASX:WBA) closed 0.7 per cent lower at $1.52. "Obviously, it may create some distortion in the market and this is what we want to avoid". Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that it would begin stockpiling heavy water and low-enriched uranium unless non-U.S. signatories take steps to shield the Iranian economy from Trump-Administration sanctions that have been crippling its economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.39% from 2.45% late Friday.

Uber's shares rose another 6.4 percent in after-the bell trading after a USA labour agency said it had concluded that the company's drivers were independent contractors, not employees.

The US argues that China's trade surplus with the US is the result of unfair practices, including state support for domestic companies. The business has hired about 100 new sales staff to liaise with customers and CCL seen a 2 per cent rise in the year to date, after falling 11 per cent in the year earlier period.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 1.1% to $61.70 a barrel. Heating oil lost 0.6% to $2.04 per gallon. The euro declined to $1.1207 from $1.1208.

Oil prices held steady and the dollar was trading at 109.59 Japanese yen.

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