Asian markets mixed after US-China trade deal

Joe McDonald

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed yesterday following a United States (US)-Chinese trade deal that disappointed some investors.

Hong Kong fell, while Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul were little-changed.

The interim “Phase 1” agreement announced last Friday was in line with expectations. The two sides agreed to reduce some punitive tariffs imposed in their fight over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. Beijing agreed to buy more American farm exports.

Market choppiness reflects concern “the details were disappointing,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.4 per cent to 27,585.18. The Shanghai Composite Index was up less than two points at 2,969.52 and Tokyo’s Nikkei was flat at 24,023.65. Seoul’s Kospi was off less than two points at 2,168.27.

Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. Asian stock markets were mixed yesterday following a US-Chinese trade deal that disappointed some investors. PHOTO: AP

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.8 per cent to 6,859.80 and India’s Sensex opened down five points at 41,004.98. Taiwan gained, while New Zealand retreated and Singapore was unchanged.

Last Friday, Wall Street ended the week with small gains to record highs for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index.

Technology companies, which rely heavily on China for sales as well as parts, led the gainers last Friday, outweighing losses in banks, energy stocks and elsewhere.

The S&P 500 index added less than 0.1 per cent to an all-time high of 3,168.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up less than 0.1 per cent to 28,135.38. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2 per cent to 8,734.88.

China reported unexpected strong November factory activity and spending. Industrial production rose 6.2 per cent from a year earlier, up from the previous month’s 4.7 per cent. Retail sales growth rose to a five-month high of eight per cent from October’s 7.2 per cent.

The US-Chinese deal averted tariff hikes planned for Sunday on imports from both sides, but the impact on economic growth will be limited, said Citigroup economists.

The two sides also agreed to roll back some punitive tariffs, but investors already had factored that into their plans.

“We believe the net effect on China’s growth is largely neutral,” said Citigroup.

ENERGY

Benchmark US crude lost 21 cents to USD59.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 89 cents last Friday to USD60.07. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 20 cents to USD65.02 per barrel in London. It rose USD1.02 the previous session to USD65.22.

CURRENCY

The dollar gained to JPY109.39 from Friday’s JPY109.33. The euro advanced to USD1.1130 from USD1.1120.