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Asian Markets Mixed As Trade Tensions Weigh

asian market down 17may19 lt

Asian stock markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday despite overnight gains on Wall Street for a third straight session following upbeat corporate earnings results and U.S. economic data.

Worries about U.S.-China trade tensions continued to weigh on investor sentiment after the Trump administration banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies from buying U.S. technology without prior approval from the U.S. government.

China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged 73.41 points or 2.5 percent to 2,882.30 amid worries about the ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China following U.S. President Donald Trump's move to block Huawei. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 328.61 points or 1.2 percent to close at 27,946.46.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks closed higher as the safe-haven yen weakened, lifting exporters' stocks. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index added 187.11 points or 0.9 percent to settle at 21,250.09.

Shares of Sony Corp. gained 9.9 percent after the company said Thursday that it will buy back shares worth up to 200 billion yen, or $1.82 billion, and also announced a new partnership with Microsoft. In February, the electronics conglomerate had announced its first ever stock repurchase of 100 billion yen.

Other major exporters also closed higher. Canon advanced more than 2 percent, Panasonic rose 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric added 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Tokyo Electron rose 0.4 percent, while Advantest declined more than 2 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex advanced 1.6 percent and Japan Petroleum gained 2.6 percent after crude oil prices rose to a two-week high.

Australian stocks also closed higher after touching an eleven-year high in morning trading, with higher iron ore and oil prices boosting resources stocks. Rising optimism about a possible interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia also boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 37.50 points or 0.6 percent to 6,365.30, after rising to a high of 6,398.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index climbed 42.70 points or 0.7 percent to 6,460.20.

Mining heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP Group both rose more than 2 percent, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals surged up 6.6 percent.

Oil stocks advanced after crude oil prices rose to a two-week high overnight. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum added more than 1 percent, while Santos rose 0.1 percent.

In the tech sector, WiseTech Global rose more than 4 percent, Afterpay Touch edged up 0.5 percent and Altium advanced almost 1 percent. In the consumer staples sector, Coles advanced 2.9 percent and Woolworths gained 2.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the big four banks closed lower. ANZ Banking lost 3 percent, Westpac fell almost 2 percent, National Australia Bank declined more than 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank declined 0.7 percent.

Virgin Australia said it expects to report a full-year underlying earning loss of at least A$35.6 million. The airline's shares fell more than 5 percent.

New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company Infratil reported a loss for the full year and its shares entered a trading halt as the company initiated a NZ$400 million capital raising to fund its joint acquisition of mobile operator Vodafone NZ, along with Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

Citadel Group's shares plunged 39.8 percent after the information management company issued a profit warning.

Shares of Neuren Pharmaceuticals soared 14.6 percent after the biotech company said one of its drug candidates to treat neurodevelopmental disorders showed early promise in two preliminary studies.

South Korean stocks gave up early gains and closed lower, while the Korean won hit its lowest level in more than 28 months against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Kopsi declined 11.89 points or 0.6 percent to settle at 2,055.80.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan also closed lower, while New Zealand and Malaysia closed higher.

U.S. stocks closed higher overnight for a third straight session, reflecting a positive reaction to earnings news from retail giant Walmart and networking giant Cisco Systems as well as a batch of upbeat economic data.

The Dow climbed 214.66 points or 0.8 percent to 25,862.68, the Nasdaq jumped 75.90 points or 1 percent to 7,898.05 and the S&P 500 advanced 25.36 points or 0.9 percent to 2,876.32.

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