Most Asian markets come under pressure as trade uncertainty swirls

Elsewhere, the Kospi pulled back by 0.72 percent as major technology names dragged the index lower. Samsung Electronics fell 3.2 percent and SK Hynix declined 3.72 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 gave up early gains to edge down by 0.16 percent. Energy led losses, losing 1.67 percent, while the heavily weighted financials sector recorded slim gains.

In its monetary policy statement, the Reserve Bank of Australia said growth was likely to come in above 3 percent in 2018 and 2019. It also noted that inflation “is likely to be a bit lower in the near term.”

Chinese equities were mixed in the afternoon. The Shanghai Composite gave up early gains as the previous session’s rebound faded, with the index last easing 0.14 percent. Other mainland indexes, however, hovered above the flat line, with the Shenzhen Composite adding 0.29 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index pulled back by 0.46 percent, with services, tech and energy weighing on the benchmark.

MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan declined 0.62 percent in Asia afternoon trade.

That followed the mixed session seen stateside on Thursday. Major U.S. indexes traded flat for most of the day before slipping late in the session as investors focused on this quarter’s strong earnings. Nearly 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results so far.

Trade concerns have also been in the spotlight, with China announcing earlier this week that it would retaliate against recent U.S. tariffs. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Wednesday a 25 percent tariff on $16 billion in U.S. goods, a move that came after the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said duties on $16 billion in Chinese imports would take effect on Aug. 23.

“So far, there is still no sign of a return to negotiation and the likelihood is that it won’t happen until after the U.S. midterms,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.

Despite broader trade jitters, some analysts are optimistic about the global picture.

“Clearly trade is creating some angst in the emerging markets, but so is Fed policy. So anything that suggests that maybe the U.S. economy … just slows down a little bit, might get the Fed to maybe not tighten in December and I think emerging markets would like that,” Jack McIntyre, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

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