Asian markets mixed as U.S.-China trade tensions rear up again

A container ship sails from Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China.

Nikkei gains, but stocks in China, Hong Kong tumble

Asian stock markets were mixed in early trading Tuesday, after Wall Street’s steep reversal following a report that the U.S. may impose more tariffs against Chinese goods.

Japanese stocks were higher amid gains in financials following solid earnings results which helped offset losses in energy stocks. The Nikkei NIK, +1.45% was last up 0.8%. Banks led gains after the Treasury yield went higher overnight, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306, +2.25% up 1.4%. Equipment manufacturer Komatsu 6301, +6.18% gained 4.4% following a full-year guidance upgrade. Meanwhile, oil explorer Inpex 1605, -3.24% fell 2.4% after crude prices fell overnight.

Hong Kong stocks fell after yesterday’s brief respite as talk of tariffs weighed on Chinese stocks listed in the city. The Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.72% was down 0.9%, risking undoing all of Monday’s gains if losses carry through to the end of trade. The U.S. is preparing to extend tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping fail, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday, citing unnamed sources. Leading declines on the benchmark with a 5.3% drop was BOC Hong Kong 2388, -6.32% , following disappointing third-quarter earnings.

China’s Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.00% slipped again after the previous day’s tumble, and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.92% lost 1.3%. Liquor stocks continued to head south on weak results, with Kweichow Moutai 600519, -4.38% sliding 5.8%, dragging major consumer names along. But Ping An Insurance 601318, +1.53% , buoyed by its record share buyback plan, reversed an opening drop.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.93% edged up 0.2%, led by gains by chip making giants Samsung 005930, +2.29% and SK Hynix 000660, +2.10% after Chinese chip company Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. was slapped with export restrictions by the U.S.

Benchmarks in Australia XJO, +1.34% and New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.38% were about flat, while Singapore’s Strait Times Index STI, -0.44% fell and Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.10% rose slightly.

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