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Asian stocks rise as trade war worries worsen

BEIJING — Asian stocks gained Monday amid investor jitters the U.S.-China trade war might be worsening.

Benchmarks in Shanghai and South Korea rose while Hong Kong and Australia were unchanged. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Investors were encouraged by hopes global central banks will keep interest rates low to shore up economic growth. But they worry President Donald Trump’s impending Sept. 1 tariff hike on more Chinese imports will scuttle talks aimed at ending their trade war.

Wall Street’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped as much as 1.3% Friday after Trump said it would be “fine” if trade talks next month don’t happen.”

Safe havens are “still in demand on trade war anxiety,” said Alfonso Esparza of Oanda in a report. “Headwinds remain strong as a deal in the short term between the U.S. and China is a long shot.”

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7% to 2,793.50 points while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little-changed at 25,919.68.

Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4% to 1,945.82 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was down 0.2% 6,568.60. Taiwan declined while New Zealand was unchanged.

Markets in India, Singapore and Thailand were closed for holidays.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended down 0.7% on Friday at 2,918.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 26,287.44 and the Nasdaq lost 1% to 7,959.14.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 28 cents per barrel to $54.22 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.94 on Friday to close at $54.40. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 27 cents to $58.26 per barrel in London. It gained $1.15 the previous session to $58.53.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged down to 105.47 yen from Friday’s 105.66 yen. The euro gained to $1.1208 from $1.1201.

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