Chinese stocks jump, other markets mixed as trade in focus

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Chinese stocks surged while other markets in Asia remained mixed yesterday, as investors watched the latest developments on trade disputes between the United States and China. Prices of oil stabilised.

KEEPING SCORE: China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.9 per cent to 2,796.28 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.2 per cent to 28,692.23. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.2 per cent to 22,598.39 while South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.2 per cent to 2,303.71. Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 was up 0.5 per cent to 6,297.70. Stocks in Taiwan, the Philippines and in Indonesia were lower.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Looking at the rhetorical battle between the United States and China recently, it may appear that finding a clue to resolve (the trade war) is impossible,” said Lee Seunghoon, an analyst at Meritz Securities Co in Seoul, South Korea. “But rather than prolonging the trade conflicts, such heated rhetorical battle between the US and China will likely lead to a resumption of negotiations before the US midterm elections.” Lee said the actual imposition of additional tariffs by the US on Chinese products could be delayed and concerns about higher consumer prices in the US may discourage President Donald Trump’s administration from imposing further tariffs.

TRADE SPAT: The US and China both announced new tariffs. Later this month each country will put a 25 per cent tax on USD16 billion in goods imported from the other. Both countries placed tariffs on USD34 billion in imports earlier this month, and they have threatened much larger tariffs to come. The Trump administration plans to tax Chinese industrial products such as steam turbines and iron girders starting August 23. China’s government said it will put tariffs on US goods including cars, crude oil and scrap metal starting on the same date.

A Chinese investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing. – AP

WALL STREET: US stock markets finished lower on Wednesday, ending a four-day winning streak. The S&P 500 index dipped 0.75 points to 2,857.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.16 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 25,583.75. The Nasdaq composite rose 4.66 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,888.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks lost 1.42 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,686.88.

OIL: Prices of oil stabilised after a sharp fall in the previous session. Benchmark US crude oil added five cents to USD66.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged 3.2 per cent to finish at USD66.94 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 14 cents to USD72.42 per barrel in London. It fell 3.2 per cent to USD72.28 a barrel in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose slightly to 111.03 yen from 111.02 yen while the euro fell to USD1.1602 from USD1.1610.