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Asian Shares Lackluster As Trump’s Healthcare Bill Collapses

Asian stocks closed mostly lower on Tuesday and the dollar extended losses after two more Republican Senators have opposed the Republican healthcare bill, casting doubts over prospects for reforms backed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Chinese stocks ended on a steady note as investors hunted for bargains after sharp drop in small-cap shares the previous day.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 11.10 points or 0.35 percent to 3,187.57 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was marginally lower at 26,462 in late trade.

Japanese shares fell as trading resumed after a long holiday weekend. The Nikkei average dropped 118.95 points or 0.59 percent to 19,999.91, the lowest level since July 7, as the yen gained against the dollar on concerns about Trump’s economic agenda and cautious rhetoric from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

The broader Topix index closed 0.31 percent lower at 1,620.48, dragged down by automakers and banks. Toshiba Corp shares soared 19 percent after a U.S. hedge fund said it had added a stake in the company.

The Bank of Japan reviews its monetary policy on Thursday, with most economists expecting the central bank to keep its policy unchanged.

Australian shares tumbled as investors awaited clarification on new bank capital rules and Rio Tinto lowered its export guidance for iron ore. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 68.10 points or 1.18 percent to 5,687.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 62.70 points or 1.08 percent lower at 5,738.10.

The big four banks fell between 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent while Rio Tinto shares declined 1.5 percent. Oil Search shed 0.7 percent on reporting a drop in second-quarter production due to maintenance.

Rival Woodside Petroleum lost 2.4 percent and Santos gave up 1 percent after oil prices fell more than 1 percent overnight on signs of steady output from producers.

On the positive side, CIMIC Group rose 1.1 percent after reporting a 22 percent increase in half-year profit and raising its dividend.


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