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Asian Shares Mixed In Lackluster Trading

asian mixed 16aug19 lt

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as U.S. Treasury yields declined further and investors digested conflicting messages on the U.S.-China trade war.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. is having very good discussions with China and the trade dispute will be fairly short.

On the other hand, Beijing vowed to counter the latest tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods but called on the United States to meet it halfway on a potential trade deal.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 8.03 points or 0.3 percent to 2,823.82, aided by gains by consumer stocks after China's state planner said it would roll out a plan to boost disposable income this year and in 2020. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 238.76 points or 0.9 percent to end at 25,734.22.

Japanese shares ended largely unchanged in cautious trading. Both the Nikkei 225 Index and the broader Topix finished marginally higher at 20,418.81 and 1,485.29, respectively. Both the benchmarks fell over 1 percent for the week.

Chipmakers gained ground, with Tokyo Electron rising 2 percent and Screen Holdings jumping 4.2 percent.

Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing ended marginally lower amid reports that some South Korean consumers were boycotting its products.

Australian markets fluctuated before finishing little changed with a negative bias as U.S. bond yields hit fresh record lows amid simmering U.S.-China trade tensions.

Shares of Ooh!Media plunged 27.5 percent after the outdoor advertising company cut its profit forecasts. Casino operator Star Entertainment Group jumped 5.9 percent despite the company reporting a fall in underlying full-year profit.

Energy stocks ended mixed as oil prices rebounded from two days of declines. The big four banks rose between 0.6 percent and 1 percent.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto shed 0.6 percent and 1 percent, respectively, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group climbed 2.1 percent.

Telstra fell 2.6 percent after the telecom giant sold its 49 percent stake in a newly established property trust to a consortium led by Charter Hall for A$700 million.

Seven West Media soared 6.7 percent as its chief executive Tim Worner resigned. Hearing implant maker Cochlear rallied 3.9 percent after reporting a 13 percent increase in full-year profit.

Seoul stocks drifted lower on global growth worries after the yields on U.S. Treasury notes declined further. The Kospi ended down 11.20 points or 0.6 percent at 1,927.17.

New Zealand shares fell for a sixth straight session, dragged down by utilities. The benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index dropped 48.75 points or 0.5 percent to 10,655.36.

Chorus and Vector lost 2-3 percent, while Sky Network Television rose 1.6 percent on news it would buy online rugby platform RugbyPass.

Lower inflation expectations are the major reason for lower official interest rates, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr said in response to an opinion piece from BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope.

"Global and domestic low inflation expectations sit as a key reason for lower global and domestic official interest rates," Orr added.

Separately, the latest survey from Business NZ revealed that the country's manufacturing sector swung into contraction territory in July with a manufacturing PMI score of 48.2, down sharply from 51.1 in June.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite Index edged down 0.1 percent. Investors ignored central bank data showing that the country's GDP grew 4.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, faster than the 4.5 percent expansion seen in the first quarter.

Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.4 percent after the release of weak exports data for July.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors watched dropping U.S. Treasury yields and upbeat retail sales data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1 percent.

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