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Asian markets inch forward amid U.S.-China friction

Asian stocks were mostly higher in early trading Friday after gains on Wall Street, but investors continued to watch for news about U.S.-China trade friction.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.56%   added 0.3%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.44%  gained 0.5% in early trading. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.23%   rose 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.27%   inched up 0.2%, while the Shanghai SHCOMP, +0.08%  as also up less than 0.1%. Shares were also higher in Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.29%   and Taiwan Y9999, +0.83%  .

Tech stocks, which took the brunt of losses Thursday, recovered. Samsung 005930, +1.60%   gained 1%, while Tencent 0700, +2.96%   bounced nearly 3% and Largan Precision 3008, +3.13%   jumped 3.4%.

“Clouded with much uncertainty, markets will likely remain jittery and may struggle to hold on to the gains,” said Jayden Loh, a Trader at IG in Singapore.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.15%   fell 4.11 points, or 0.2%, to 2,695.95. The benchmark index had been down as much as 2.9%. The Dow DJIA, -0.32%   dropped 79.40 points, or 0.3%, to 24,947.67. The average briefly slumped as much as 784 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.42%   reversed an early loss to finish with a gain, adding 29.83 points, or 0.4%, to 7,188.26.

U.S. benchmark crude CLF9, -0.41%   fell 24 cents to $51.25 a barrel. It dropped 2.6% to $51.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude LCOG9, -0.60%  , used to price international oils, dipped 39 cents to $59.67.

After falling earlier, the dollar USDJPY, +0.15%   was last at 112.82 yen from 112.80 yen late Thursday.

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