BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were broadly higher in Asia yesterday as investors stepped up buying on hopes for an easing of tensions in the costly trade war between the United States (US).
Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.1 per cent to 21,988.29 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.6 per cent to 27,262.80. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.2 per cent points to 6,669.20. Markets in Shanghai and South Korea were closed for holidays. India’s Sensex was flat at 37,092.81. Shares also rose in Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta but fell in Malaysia.
Overnight, stocks rose on Wall Street after the US and China took steps to ease tensions in their costly trade war.
The US agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to October 15. Meanwhile, Chinese importers have asked US suppliers for prices for soybeans, meat and other farm goods — a sign they might step up purchases of American agricultural products.
The gestures stoked cautious optimism that the next round of trade talks in October between Washington and Beijing may lead to some progress after a string of failed attempts at resolving the longstanding dispute.
The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 per cent to 3,009.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its winning streak to a seventh straight day, gaining 0.2 per cent to 27,182.45.
The Nasdaq added 0.3 per cent to 8,194.47, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up an early gain, sliding 0.65 point to 1,575.07.
The US-China talks have basically gone nowhere since early May, when the two sides appeared close to a deal. Along the way, the countries have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s products.
Financial markets were rattled in August as the trade conflict escalated yet again, fuelling worries that more tariffs and a slowing global economy could bump the US into a recession. The economic uncertainty has also become a drag on companies.
The two countries’ conciliatory moves on Wednesday and Thursday have raised hopes on Wall Street that the upcoming round of trade negotiations may yield a different outcome than previous attempts, given the toll the friction is having on both economies.
“The goodwill moves also highlight the political pressure that both sides are under in response to the economic damage the trade war is causing,” Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary. “President Trump in particular looks to be getting nervous at increasing signs that the trade war is impacting the US growth outlook and the risk this poses to his re-election next year.”
Benchmark crude oil fell 11 cents to USD54.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 66 cents to settle at USD55.09 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 16 cents to USD60.22 a barrel.
The dollar fell to JPY107.98 from JPY108.12 on Thursday. The euro strengthened to USD1.1099 from USD1.1072.