BEIJING (AP) — Shares declined Thursday after President Donald Trump signed a bill expressing support for human rights in Hong Kong.
China reacted with indignation to the legislation, which Congress passed with overwhelming support. Beijing summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad for a dressing down and issued multiple statements threatening unspecified countermeasures.
In Hong Kong, where sometimes violent protests have dragged on for nearly six months, the Hang Seng index lost 0.2% to 26,893.73. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5% to 2,889.69.
In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.4% to 7,397.66. The CAC 40 in Paris gave up 0.3% to 5,910.53 and Germany’s DAX declined 0.3% to 13,241.70.
U.S. futures were modestly lower, with the contracts for both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 losing 0.3%.
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. They’ll be open for a half day on Friday.
Trump’s move did not come as a surprise, given the pressure from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers to support the legislation. But it’s unclear if the human rights bill, which Beijing views as “meddling” in China’s internal affairs, might derail recent progress in trade talks with Washington.
“We urge the U.S. to not continue going down the wrong path, or China will take countermeasures, and the U.S. must bear all consequences,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Markets appeared to be taking the developments in stride, said Stephen Innes of AxiTrader, “on the assumption that the U.S. legislation is unlikely to torpedo phase one. But of course, it does provide a stark reminder that on one level or another, U.S.-China frictions are always going to be a thorn in the markets’ side.”
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1% to 23,409.14 while the Kospi in Seoul shed 0.4% to 2,118.60. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.2% to 6,864.00.
India’s Sensex added 0.1% to 41,059.51. Shares fell in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.
On Wednesday, investors capped a day of light trading on Wall Street ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday by serving up another set of stock market record highs.
The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite closed at all-time highs for the third straight day Wednesday. And the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies hit its highest level in a year.
A batch of positive U.S. economic data helped spur the broad rally, extending the market’s recent string of gains.