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Asian equity markets dragged lower by heightened trade fears

Stock markets in Asia on Friday continued the sell-off that began in the U.S. late Thursday after President Donald Trump announced he would impose tariffs on $50 billion to $60 billion worth of imported goods from China.

China's two mainland markets fell sharply, with the Shenzhen composite index dropping 4.49% on Friday and the Shanghai composite tumbling 3.39%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 2.45%.

The region's other big markets suffered as well, with Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark slumping 4.51% and South Korea's KOSPI off 3.18%.

Those declines matched or exceeded the sell-off in the U.S., where the S&P 500 index closed down 2.52% and the Dow Jones industry average gave back 2.93%.

Hannah Anderson, a Hong Kong-based global market strategist with J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPM), said in an interview that the broad sell-off — while partly a knee-jerk reaction to heightened trade rhetoric — also reflected that "investors in the region understand, to a much higher degree than their U.S. counterparts, that trade is an extremely interlinked phenomena."

The product loaded on a Chinese port for the U.S. "probably has components from a dozen countries" in the region in it, so growing trade tensions will cause markets throughout Asia to wobble, she said.

There's reason to expect efforts on all sides to avoid a trade war will ameliorate the situation, she said. Even so, the volatility should prompt investors to look at their portfolios and review which companies, products and supply chains could be most affected by the policies eventually put in place, she said.