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Asian Shares End Mixed Amid U.S.-China Trade Deal Uncertainty

asiancommentary aug20 19nov19 lt

Asian stocks closed mixed on Tuesday as investors continued to wait for signs of progress in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Nevertheless, investor sentiment was bolstered by news that the Trump administration issued a new 90-day extension that will allow U.S. companies to continue doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies.

Chinese shares closed higher for the second straight day amid hopes of government stimulus to boost slowing economic growth. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 24.79 points or 0.9 percent to finish at 2,933.99.

Hong Kong shares extended Monday's rally, erasing some of last week's hefty losses. The Hang Seng Index jumped 412.71 points or 1.6 percent to 27,093.80.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks declined as investors turned cautious amid uncertainty over a U.S.-China trade deal. CNBC's Beijing Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon reported that Chinese officials have grown pessimistic about the chances for a trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell 124.11 points or 0.5 percent to 23,292.65, while the broader Topix dipped 3.99 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 1,696.73.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 1.3 percent and Fast Retailing declined 1.4 percent. The major exporters mostly fell on a stronger yen. Sony declined 1.3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric lost 0.5 percent and Canon dipped 0.3 percent. Panasonic advanced 1.1 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron lost 1.3 percent and Advantest slipped 1.6 percent. Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor fell 1.1 percent and Honda Motor declined 0.7 percent.

Among the major gainers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma spiked 7.4 percent and Kyowa Kirin surged up 4.7 percent.

On the flip side, Z Holdings, formerly known as Yahoo Japan, fell 8.1 percent, while Taiyo Yuden lost 4.9 percent and CyberAgent declined 4.4 percent.

The Australian markets recovered after a weak start to close higher after minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's November monetary policy meeting showed that the central bank had seen a case for cutting the cash rate again earlier this month but decided to keep the rate on hold.

At the November meeting, the RBA left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent, as widely expected, after cutting it by a quarter point in October.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index added 47.40 points or 0.7 percent to close at 6,814.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index advanced 42.40 points or 0.6 percent to 6,914.10.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals gained 2.7 percent, Rio Tinto added 0.9 percent and BHP rose 0.3 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank closed higher in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank edged down 0.2 percent.

Woodside Petroleum announced plans to triple its gas and oil reserve base to 3.7 million barrels over the next seven years and narrowed its 2019 output guidance. The oil company's shares rose 0.5 percent.

A2 Milk said it expects its fiscal 2020 earnings margins to be stronger than its previous outlook on strong first-half sales and improved marketing investment in the U.S. and China. The dairy producer's shares soared 11.2 percent.

Qantas Airways forecast capital spending of about A$2 billion in fiscal 2020 and said it expects capacity growth to be little changed in the second half of the year. The airline's shares added 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Kogan.com shares fell 6.6 percent after the internet retailer's chief executive Ruslan Kogan said at the company's annual general meeting that October gross sales increased 18 percent, while gross profit rose 22 percent.

New Zealand shares also closed higher, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index rising 19.08 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 10,892.24. Dairy company A2 Milk gained 10.3 percent, while wholesale broadband provider Chorus rose 6.9 percent.

Seoul stocks fell for the second straight day as investors remained cautious amid mixed signals regarding a potential U.S.-China trade deal. The benchmark Kospi lost 7.45 points or 0.3 percent to settle at 2,153.24.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics closed flat, while chipmaker SK hynix declined 0.2 percent. Among the major losers, pharmaceutical firm Celltrion dipped 1.6 percent and Samsung BioLogics dropped 0.8 percent.

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