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Asian markets were mostly lower on Tuesday, as moves by the U.S to gain an upper hand on trade with China weighed on the technology sector.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.87 percent from 2.89 percent. The S&P 500 index lost 14 points or 0.5 percent to 2,740, and the Nasdaq fell 58 points or 0.8 percent to 7,636. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.4 percent to 6,186.40. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid 28.07 points, or 1.7%, to 1,657.51.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell for the ninth time in 10 days, and broader gauges also slumped, as investors feared high-tech companies could be dragged into the broadening trade dispute between the US and China.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later clarified that curbs would apply, not specifically to China, but "to all countries that are trying to steal our technology". The S&P 500 index dropped 1.4 percent to 2,717.07, its worst loss since April 6.

Wall Street was set to start the week lower on Monday, as a move to check Chinese investments in USA technology firms further raised tensions between the United States and its trading partners. Harley-Davidson is falling after it said it will shift the production of some motorcycles to Europe in response to taxes the European Union put on USA exports.

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Wall Street closed sharply lower on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq staging their steepest losses in more than two months, amid an escalating trade dispute between the United States and other leading economies. The Nasdaq composite shed 2.1 percent to 7,532.01. All 72 of the technology companies listed on the S&P 500 were trading lower.

TRADE TENSIONS: U.S. efforts to secure advantages in trade are seeing some hit back. On Friday the European Union put tariffs on motorcycles from the U.S.as well as other goods like bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice. He has since escalated that to threats of tariffs on billions more dollars of goods imported into the USA, causing threats of retaliation from China. "There is a sense that trade tensions could be long drawn and somewhat more antagonistic going forward", said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and macro strategy at Mizuho Bank.

Brent crude prices, which provided support to the equity markets last week, fell more than 1.5 percent as investors prepared for an extra 1 million barrels per day in output to hit the markets after OPEC and its partners agreed to raise production. But investors aren't sure if the cartel will carry it out.

The August crude contract was down eight cents to US$68.50 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down three cents to US$2.91 per mmBTU. Harley-Davidson shares plunged 6.0 percent on Monday. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 43 cents to $74.98 per barrel in London.

The dollar weakened against several major currencies.


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