BANGKOK — Share prices were mixed Friday in Asia ahead of the planned meeting by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 major economies summit this weekend.
Thailand’s set gained 0.5 percent, trading at 1,644.97 on Friday morning. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.4 percent to 22,351.06 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5 percent to 26,586.53. The Shanghai Composite index jumped 0.8 percent to 2,587.72 and India’s Sensex gained 0.2 percent to 36,235.61. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.8 percent to 2,096.86 while the S&P ASX/200 in Australia tumbled 1.6 percent to 5,667.20 on heavy selling of financials and consumer goods companies. Shares rose in Taiwan and Singapore but fell in Indonesia.
The working dinner meeting between Trump and Xi could bring a breakthrough in a bruising trade war that has the U.S. and China imposing punitive tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s exports. Or not. Analysts are not optimistic about prospects for improvement a month before U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are due to ramp up.
“As investors shift their attention to the upcoming G-20 Trump-Xi meeting this weekend, Trump has hinted that he is very close to ‘doing something with China’ on trade,” Mizuho Bank said in a market note. “Though a comprehensive agreement is still unlikely, agreeing on a framework for future talks together with a delay in implementation of a 25 percent tariff hike on USD$200 billion of Chinese imports” would “constitute a good outcome.”
A measure of China’s factory activity slipped to its lowest level in more than two years in November, adding to pressure on Beijing amid the tariff battle with Trump. The China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said Friday its monthly purchasing managers’ index declined to 50 from October’s 50.2 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate activity is increasing. It blamed weak domestic demand for the latest decline. But investors often see such news as a signal more market-boosting stimulus may be coming.
Korean Rate Hike
South Korea’s central bank lifted its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percent to 1.75%, in line with expectations. The first increase by the Bank of Korea in a year, it reflects concern over rising household debt and property prices.
U.S. stocks finished lower Thursday after an afternoon rally faded. Banks and technology companies fell after the market pulled off a huge rally the day before when Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell suggested in a speech that the Fed might be almost done raising interest rates, and is willing to stop raising rates at least temporarily so it can assess the effects of the last few years of increases. The S&P 500 index shed 0.2 percent to 2,737.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.1 percent lower at 25,338.84. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.3 percent to 7,273.08 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.3 percent to 1,525.39.
Benchmark U.S. crude added 2 cents to $51.47 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 2.3 percent to finish at $51.45 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude gained 11 cents to $60.02 per barrel. It edged up 1.3 percent to $59.51 a barrel in London.
The dollar slid to 113.39 yen from 113.48 yen on Thursday. The euro was flat at $1.1391.
Story: Elaine Kurtenbach