Asian markets narrowly mixed as investors digest US-China trade news
Asian shares traded mixed on Friday following off the soggy close seen on Wall Street overnight amid investor concerns over U.S.-China trade talks.
Japanese markets traded slightly higher after the release of core consumer price index data, which slightly missed expectations. The Nikkei 225 added 0.38 percent and the broader Topix edged higher by 0.32 percent. The gains came as the yen extended losses against the dollar, trading at 110.96 to the greenback at 9:36 a.m. HK/SIN.
Among sectors, the Topix mining and oil subindexes led the climb higher, while consumer goods names edged down. Financials and automakers also traded higher for the most part.
Elsewhere, the Kospi rose by 0.39 percent as Samsung Electronics edged up by 0.3 percent, paring some of its overnight declines while other tech names slipped. Shipbuilders also traded higher in the morning.
Greater China markets were steady in early trade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index eked out gains of 0.05 percent while mainland stock indexes traded marginally lower. The Shanghai composite shed 0.06 percent and the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.26 percent.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 reversed early gains to shed 0.18 percent as gains in the health care and energy subindexes were offset by declines in the materials and financials sectors.
The mixed trade in Asia came on the back of slight declines seen stateside as investors digested news on ongoing U.S.-China trade talks and higher interest rates. Despite the slight declines seen in most major U.S. stock indexes, the small-cap Russell 2000 gained 0.55 percent to notch a fresh record close.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he doubted high-level U.S.-China trade negotiations would be successful as China, and other U.S. trading partners, had “become very spoiled.” His comments came as a second round of the bilateral talks began in Washington on Thursday.
“Market[s] shrugged off the upbeat earnings results and took concerns over renewed trade tension and its potential disruption to the current equity rally seen over the last few days,” analysts from OCBC Bank said in a morning note.
The move higher in interest rates was also in focus, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbing to 3.122 percent in the last session — its highest level since August 2008. Yields on the two-year and five-year Treasury notes, as well as the 30-year Treasury bond, also touched multi-year highs.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures edged up by 0.28 percent to trade at $79.52 per barrel after rising as high as $80.50 per barrel, its highest since November 2014, in the last session. Meanwhile, U.S. crude futures added 0.14 percent to trade at $71.59.
On the corporate front, Tokio Marine Holdings is expected to release its full-year earnings later in the day. Meanwhile, Leshi Internet Information & Technology, the listed unit of troubled conglomerate LeEco, faces a May 18 deadline to respond to questions from the Shenzhen Stock Exchange over its business operations.
In individual movers, Samsung Biologics rose 4.77 percent after the South Korean company said Biogen, a U.S. biotechnology firm, would exercise its call option to increase its stake in Samsung Bioepis. Biogen will exercise the option by June 29.