Asia Markets: Asian markets pause from strong run with U.S.-China trade talks in focus

Asian stocks mostly paused on Thursday as China and the U.S. kicked off two days of trade negotiations in Beijing. Regional indexes have advanced for three straight days on hopes that both sides will make headway on big issues like Beijing’s technology policy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.23% slipped 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.07%  finished flat, but the Kospi SEU, +1.11%   in South Korea bucked the weaker trend with a gain of 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, -0.05%   also closed with no change.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.02%  was flat after preliminary data showed that its economy had expanded by 1.4% in 2018’s fourth quarter, helped by strong domestic demand. This was a vast improvement from a broad contraction in the previous quarter. Shares slipped in Taiwan Y9999, -0.02% but inched up in Singapore STI, +0.11%  .

Among individual stocks, oil company Inpex 1605, -2.88%   fell after surging Wednesday in Tokyo trading. Fast Retailing 9983, +0.43%   and Sony 6758, +1.16%   advanced. In Hong Kong, tech companies such as AAC 2018, -2.85%  , Sunny Optical 2382, -5.03%   and Tencent 0700, -1.73%   sank. Steel maker Posco 005490, -0.19%   fell in Korea, as did Hyundai Motors 005380, -2.41%  . Australian bank stocks declined, while mining companies such as BHP BHP, +1.64%   and Fortescue Metals FMG, +1.94%   advanced.

“For Asia markets, the exhaustion of the positive sentiment that powered U.S. markets overnight looks to invite the region to tread water in the session,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

News that Chinese and American officials planned to hold further talks in Beijing has fueled trading in Asia and beyond. A tariffs truce, which was put in place by Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump in December, will expire soon. On March 2, the U.S. is expected to more than double import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Trump has hinted that he might hold off on these tariffs if enough progress was made at the talks. On Wednesday, he told reporters that discussions were “going along very well.”

Chinese trade data showed exports unexpectedly rose more than 9% in January after contracting 4.4% in December, easing worries that the world’s no. 2 economy was slowing.

U.S stocks edged higher Wednesday on hopes that negotiators will come close to a deal after trade talks. Energy companies, retailers and industrial stocks climbed. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.30%   added 0.3% to 2,753.03 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.46%   was up 0.5% at 25,543.27. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.08%   rose 0.1% to 7,420.38.

U.S. crude CLJ9, +1.10%   rose 1.1% to $54.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 80 cents to settle at $53.90 per barrel in New York. Brent crude LCOJ9, +1.52%  , used to price international oils, gained 1.5% to $64.57 per barrel. It added $1.19 close at $63.61 per barrel in London.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.00%  rose to 111.05 yen from 110.98 yen late Wednesday.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.

Filed in: Top News Tags: 

You might like:

Upgrade: Americans’ stress levels just hit a record high — and this group is suffering the most Upgrade: Americans’ stress levels just hit a record high — and this group is suffering the most
Harry Boxer’s three stocks to watch this week Harry Boxer’s three stocks to watch this week
Market Extra: Overleveraged companies at the edge of a drop to ‘junk’ will sharply cut debt — and could roil bond market Market Extra: Overleveraged companies at the edge of a drop to ‘junk’ will sharply cut debt — and could roil bond market
NewsWatch: Why stock-market investors aren’t suffering ‘FOMO’ despite return to all-time highs NewsWatch: Why stock-market investors aren’t suffering ‘FOMO’ despite return to all-time highs
The Margin: Watch this ‘astonishing’ clip of a chimp checking his Instagram account The Margin: Watch this ‘astonishing’ clip of a chimp checking his Instagram account
Cannabis Watch: Valens GroWorks, Hexo and Cresco Labs gain in falling cannabis sector Cannabis Watch: Valens GroWorks, Hexo and Cresco Labs gain in falling cannabis sector
This Nike ad showing a woman’s underarm hair is making some people very uncomfortable This Nike ad showing a woman’s underarm hair is making some people very uncomfortable
The Fed: Here’s what the market expects from the Fed’s policy review on inflation The Fed: Here’s what the market expects from the Fed’s policy review on inflation

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment
© 2019 Stock Investors News. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.