Asian shares mixed on US-China tensions, Wall Street gains

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People wearing face masks walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. Asian shares were mixed on Monday, as investors watched surging numbers of new coronavirus cases in the region, including in Japan. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed on Monday as investors eyeballed surging coronavirus cases in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's weekend comments that President Donald Trump plans to take action on a what he sees as a broad array of national security risks presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party added to market jitters.

Pompeo's remarks followed reports that Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is seen as a source of national security and censorship concerns by the Trump administration.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 2.2% to 22,195.38. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,928.50. South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1% higher to 2,251.67. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8% to 24,395.40, while the Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.4% to 3,355.73.

Investors were also watching the Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index, a private survey which showed China’s manufacturing activity grew in July rising to a higher than expected level of 52.8 on a 0-100 scale where 50 marks the break between expansion and contraction.

A “strong rebound in Western economic activity should better the investor mood this week, even though the short-term direction will likely remain blurred by the persistent COVID threat and global trade tensions," Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a commentary.

On Friday, Wall Street closed outs its fourth straight winning month as Big Tech shares continued to steamroll through the pandemic. The S&P 500 rose 24.90 points, or 0.8%, to 3,271.12 following blowout profit reports from Apple and several other tech titans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down as many as 300 points before finishing the day up 114.67, or 0.4%, at 26,428.32. The Nasdaq composite jumped 157.64, or 1.5%, to 10,745.27 on the strength for tech stocks, which also accelerated in the last hour of trading.