Asian Shares Track Mixed Finish on Wall Street Over Tariffs

An investor walks in front of trading boards at a private stock market gallery in September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Yam G-Jun / Associated Press
An investor walks in front of trading boards at a private stock market gallery in September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Yam G-Jun / Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Asian shares are mixed, trading in a narrow range Thursday after news of a fresh round of tariffs by the U.S. on USD$200 billion in Chinese goods drew a muted reaction on Wall Street.

 

Keeping Score

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was less than 0.1 percent higher at 23,674.93 after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the go-ahead for a third term, ending in 2021. The Kospi in South Korea added 0.7 percent to 2,325.45. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat at 27,401.53. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.1 percent to 2,727,31. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to 6,170.90. Shares rose in Indonesia and Thailand but fell in Taiwan and Singapore.

 

Wall Street

Major U.S. indexes were mixed on Wednesday as gains by banks and other financial companies balanced out losses elsewhere in the market. Bond yields surged to their highest level in four months, driving demand for bank stocks and triggering a sell-off in utilities and real estate companies. The S&P 500 index gained 0.1 percent to 2,907.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6 percent to 26,405.76. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 7,950.04. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dropped 0.5 percent to 1,702.93.

 

US-China Trade

Starting Monday, the U.S. will place a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion more in Chinese goods. The tariffs will rise to 25 percent on Jan 1. Beijing has said it would take “counter measures,” which includes hitting $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals, with retaliatory taxes. There was no word on whether China would back out of trade talks it said it was invited to by the U.S., but a Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said the U.S. increase “brings new uncertainty to the consultations.” The Trump administration has said it remains open to negotiations with China.

 

Analyst’s Take

“Indeed, U.S investor and traders, in general, are showing little sensitivity to U.S tariff implementations, at least at current levels anyway,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. “So, with investors in evaluation mode and with both the U.S and China likely to resume negotiations, expectations are still there for a resolution before President Trump deems it necessary to double down on tariffs,” he added.

 

Energy

Oil prices rose on news that U.S. crude inventories fell last week and are now running at about 3 percent lower than the five-year average for this time of the year. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 51 cents to $71.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled at $70.77 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 38 cents to $79.78 a barrel. It added 0.5 percent to $79.40 a barrel in London.

 

Currencies

The dollar eased to 112.20 yen from 112.29 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1689 from $1.1674.

Story: Annabelle Liang