Asian shares mostly higher as congress lifts Chinese markets

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher yesterday, led by gains in Chinese markets as officials promised to enact measures to boost the economy and cool trade tensions.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.5 per cent to 3,102.10 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 per cent to 29,030.17. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.6 per cent to 21,596.81 as a stronger yen hurt shares of export manufacturers.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.8 per cent to 6,245.60 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.2 per cent to 2,175.60. India’s Sensex gained 0.5 per cent to 36,605.15. Shares rose in Indonesia but fell in Singapore and Thailand.

China will bar government authorities from demanding overseas companies hand over technology secrets in exchange for market share, Vice Chairman of the Cabinet’s Economic Planning Agency Ning Jizhe told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

The provision, to be contained in a foreign investment law to be presented to the legislature, addresses complaints that China forces companies to share technology, a key issue in the trade war between the US and China.

Meanwhile, traders are watching for new details on trade talks between the US and China.

People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. – AP

“Examining the outlook, the market remains a trade driven one as we await the confirmation and details of the trade deal,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “Past that, however, the latest set of announcements does affirm the Chinese authorities’ willingness to put policy into action to keep the market going.”

Overnight, stocks edged lower on Wall Street as losses in industrial, technology and financial stocks outweighed gains elsewhere.

The S&P 500 index edged 0.1 per cent lower to 2,789.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost 0.1 per cent, to 25,806.63. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 7,576.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 0.5 per cent to 1,568.28.

The US and China have pulled back from an immediate escalation of their damaging trade war since they started negotiating last month. US President Donald Trump postponed a deadline for raising tariffs on more Chinese goods, citing progress in a series of talks. Media reports on Monday suggested the nations could strike a deal this month.

ENERGY

US crude slipped 43 cents to USD56.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up three cents to settle at USD56.56 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 40 cents to USD65.46 a barrel.

CURRENCIES

The dollar fell to 111.79 yen from 111.87 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened to USD1.1300 from USD1.1309.