Asia stocks down as investors seek safe havens before Trump-Xi meeting

Asian share markets were down in skittish early trade on Tuesday as investors held their breath ahead of a potentially tense meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping later this week.

The dollar inched lower as investors sold stocks in Europe and on Wall Street overnight to seek shelter in safe havens as political uncertainty overshadowed positive US economic data and solid growth in global manufacturing.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent in early trade. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.4 percent as investors sought out the safe-haven yen. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India are closed for holidays.

"We head into Tuesday on a distinct risk-off vibe, although the moves in equities are probably best described as 'drift,' rather than a 'spike' lower," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

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