Asian shares fall as China trade data disappoints

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TOKYO (AP) — Shares fell Tuesday in Asia, rapidly erasing initial gains that followed record highs on Wall Street after China reported disappointing trade data for July.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent to 19,993.76 in morning trading, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8 percent to 5,730.00. South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,395.03. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down 0.1 percent to 27,707.79, while the Shanghai Composite was also down 0.1 percent, at 3,274.83.

WALL STREET: Gains in technology companies helped lift U.S. stock indexes, nudging the market once again into record territory. The S&P 500 index rose 0.2 percent to a record 2,480.91. The Dow gained 0.1 percent to 22,118.42, an all-time high. The Nasdaq composite added 0.5 percent, to 6,383.77.

CHINA TRADE: China's trade growth weakened in July in a negative sign for the country's economic growth and global demand. Customs data showed growth in exports slowed to 7.2 percent from June's 11.3 percent. Imports rose 11 percent, down from the previous month's 17.2 percent. Forecasters have warned Chinese economic growth is likely to slow this year, dampening demand for foreign goods, as controls imposed on bank lending to slow a rise in debt take hold.

THE QUOTE: "The upshot is that, despite the uptick at the end of Q2, trade growth now appears to be on a downward trend. In particular, the sharp decline in import growth since the start of the year suggests that domestic demand is softening," Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 18 cents to $49.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $49.39 per barrel Monday in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 22 cents to $52.15 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar fell to 110.65 yen from 110.74 yen late Monday in Asia. The euro rose slightly to $1.1812 from $1.1792.

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