Asia Markets: Nikkei leads Asian markets lower amid U.S.-China trade tensions

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Asian stocks started weaker Monday as investors there finally got to react to official trade action by the U.S. and China on Friday.

Japan stocks fared the worst early, with the Nikkei NIK, -0.75%   down 0.8% following its ongoing strength in recent weeks and after a much-bigger-than-expected May trade deficit.

But South Korea SEU, -1.16%  , Australia XJO, +0.17%   and New Zealand NZ50GR, -0.02%   were all only barely lower — and the S&P/ASX 200 was testing Friday’s closing level after its end-of-week 1.3% jump, the most in just under a year. Markets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were closed Monday for a holiday while much of Southeast Asia returned after a Friday holiday.