Markets

Asian Shares Mixed After Trump's Trade Comments

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as U.S. President Donald Trump's comments suggesting a trade deal with China could happen sooner than expected helped push market concerns about U.S. political risks into the background.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Japan have signed a limited trade deal, under which Japan will open new markets to about $7 billion in U.S. agricultural products.

Chinese shares fell as mixed signals from Washington and Beijing on the trade front kept underlying sentiment cautious ahead of the week-long National Day holiday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 26.35 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,929.09 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 96.58 points, or 0.37 percent, at 26,041.93.

Japanese shares rose slightly, with automakers and China-related stocks surging after the U.S. and Japan signed a limited trade deal and Trump tweeted that a deal with China was closer.

The Nikkei average inched up 28.09 points, or 0.13 percent, to 22,048.24, while the broader Topix index closed 0.20 percent higher at 1,623.27.

Robot maker Fanuc advanced 2.4 percent and automaker Toyota Motor gained 1.1 percent. Advantest, the world's biggest maker of chip inspection equipment, fell 2.1 percent.

Australian markets fell amid heightened global uncertainties especially concerning trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 32.60 points, or 0.49 percent, to finish at 6,677.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 29.10 points, or 0.43 percent, at 6,785.60.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto ended on a flat note as investors remained skeptical about U.S.-China deal happening anytime soon.

Gold miners Evolution and Newcrest fell around 4 percent after gold prices logged their biggest daily decline in nearly three weeks on Wednesday, pressured by strength in the dollar.

Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos dropped over 1 percent each after oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday in the wake of bearish inventory data and amid reports that Saudi Arabia maintained a faster-than-expected recovery of its oil production.

Australia's job vacancies declined in the August quarter, a government report showed today. The number of job vacancies fell by seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent sequentially in the August quarter, following a 1.6 percent drop in May. On a yearly basis, job vacancies declined 1.9 percent in three months to August.

Seoul stocks ended marginally higher after survey results from Bank of Korea revealed that the country's consumer confidence improved for the first time in five months in September. However, households' inflation expectations eased to the lowest on record.

New Zealand shares declined, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 38.67 points, or 0.36 percent, at 10,822.77, dragged down by telecom and healthcare stocks. Spark New Zealand tumbled 3 percent.

In economic news, interest rates will remain low for a number of years, providing a great environment to invest, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr told NZX Issuer Forum in Auckland.

"The good news for New Zealand, unlike many other OECD economies, is that our government's books are in good shape, with room to expand investment, and there is already a strong fiscal impulse underway from public spending and investment," said Orr.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as President Trump voiced optimism about a trade deal with China and sales of new U.S. single-family homes rebounded more than expected in August.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration released the much-anticipated transcript summary of Trump's controversial phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky following a move in Congress to open a formal impeachment inquiry of the president.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.6 percent.

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