Hong Kong stocks retreated Thursday as top US and Chinese officials met in Beijing for trade talks aimed at preventing an escalation in tariffs before a March 1 deadline.
The Hang Seng Index lost 0.2 percent, to 28,432.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.1 percent lower, to 2,719, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.7 percent, to 1,398.
Hong Kong listed smartphone component maker Sunny Optical dropped 4.9 percent as a stock exchange filing showed a sharp fall in net profit for last year.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index edged down fractionally as investors locked in recent gains that pushed the market to a two-month high. The Nikkei 225 index lost just over four points, to close at 21,139.
An unexpected rise in Chinese exports – particularly to Europe and Southeast Asia – had little bearing on markets as imports for January fell, with reciprocal tariffs taking effect and the domestic economy continuing to slow.
"The broad trend in shipments still appears to be pointing down," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.
"The downbeat outlook for global growth means that this year is likely to be challenging for Chinese exporters, even if the ongoing US-China trade negotiations culminate in a deal," Evans-Pritchard wrote in a research note. (AFP)