Asian shares mixed on caution over China-US trade deal

18-Oct-2019 Intellasia | AP | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Asian shares were mixed Thursday on renewed caution over the truce in the tariff war between the US and China.

Hong Kong initially led regional gains after its chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced help Wednesday for the property sector. The semi-autonomous city’s economy has been languishing amid months of increasingly violent political protests that are in part fueled by the sky-high cost of housing.

The Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 26,776.97 after rising more than 1 percent earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, sentiment was tepid. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1 percent to 22,451.86 while the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,972.42.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.8 percent to 6,684.70 and the Kospi in Seoul gave up 0.4 percent to 2,074.02. India’s Sensex was flat at 38,602.70.

Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore but inched higher in Jakarta and Bangkok.

Investors are awaiting the release of Chinese data on Friday that will likely show the world’s second largest economy slowed further in the July-September quarter given the toll the trade dispute is taking on the export manufacturing sector.

Thursday’s lackluster trading tracked similar action on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 index lost 0.2 percent to 2,989.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1 percent to 27,001.98 and the Nasdaq fell 0.3 percent, to 8,124.18. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks eked out a tiny gain, adding 1.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,525.06.

The benchmark S&P 500 index remains 1.2 percent below its all-time high set in July.

The modest losses came as investors weighed mixed data on the economy and the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.

A move on Tuesday by the House of Representatives to show support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong appeared to dim some investor optimism about the prospects for progress in the latest trade talks between the US and China.

On Friday, the US agreed to suspend a planned hike in tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods that had been set to kick in Tuesday. Beijing, meanwhile, agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in US farm products.

But in a White House news conference on Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that officials were still ironing out details of their preliminary agreement.

President Donald Trump has said he does not expect to sign an agreement until next month, when he is due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the regional Asian Economic Cooperation, or Apec, forum in Chile in November.

In other trading, benchmark crude oil lost 48 cents to $52.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 55 cents to settle at $53.36 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 45 cents to $58.97 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 108.75 Japanese yen from 108.76 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1077 from $1.1073.


Category: FinanceAsia

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