HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock indexes sank Friday as the U.S. fired missiles at a Syrian air base during President Donald Trump’s first meeting with China’s president, leaving investors on edge over the global outlook.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.2 percent to 18,553.33 while South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4 percent to 2,143.66. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent to 24,016.40 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China dipped 0.1 percent to 3,279.21. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent to 5,852.90.
AIRSTRIKES: U.S. warships fired about 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a horrific chemical attack against civilians. The attack was a reversal for Trump, who had previously warned about getting involved in the Syrian war but now said that it was in the “vital national security interest” of the United States.
US-CHINA SUMMIT: The strikes came as Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a high-stakes summit in Florida. Tensions over trade and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are among big topics on the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies. Trump appeared lighthearted as he greeted Xi ahead of a dinner on Thursday evening before the two delve into the details the next day.
MARKET VIEW: “Formalities have been exchanged in the first day between the two leaders,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in Singapore. “The second day is when the two sides are expected to delve into more market moving issues. Any tense outcomes could jeopardize potential gains for markets from positive economic data.”
SAMSUNG’S QUARTER: The South Korean electronics giant posted a 48 percent jump in profits for the first three months of the year, beating analyst forecasts. Samsung released an upbeat earnings preview despite unprecented crises including criminal charges against top executives tied to a political scandal and a fire-prone smartphone. Full numbers are due later in the month.
WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended slightly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.2 percent to 2,357.49. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1 percent to 20,662.95. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.2 percent to 5,878.95.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 85 cents to $52.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $51.70 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 88 cents to $55.77 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.27 yen from 110.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0652 from $1.0645.