ICEC

Asia markets close mostly positive after US-China trade developments

Asia markets largely advanced on Friday, following a strong lead in from Wall Street and positive news on the U.S.-China trade front.

The Nikkei 225 traded up by 0.35 percent, 78.34 points, to close at 22,270.38. Most major sectors in Japan rose, with the shipping sector leading the way — closing up by 2.44 percent.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose by 0.28 percent to close at 2,247.05, with the tech industry and the auto sector mostly down. Major auto manufacturer Kia Motors fell 0.93 percent by the end of the day.

Down Under, the ASX 200 edged around 0.17 percent higher to close at 6,339.20. Fortescue Metals ended the trading day down 1.17 percent.

In the Greater China region, markets were mixed after beginning their trading day in positive territory.

The Hang Seng Index traded 0.11 percent up with the most sectors in mixed territory as of 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN. Also in focus was Tencent, which had seen its shares slide earlier in the week following a string of negative news. The Chinese tech giant’s stock was up 3.01 percent in afternoon trade.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell by 1.33 percent to close at 2,669.10. Fosun Pharmaceuticals was among those taking the largest hit, closing the day down by 6.73 percent.

The moves come after a Thursday rebound in U.S. markets, with a string of positive news ranging from strong corporate earnings to reports of a revival in U.S.-China trade talks all boosting investor sentiment.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” earlier reports saying China and the U.S. will hold a fresh round of trade talks later in August, giving investors hope that the world’s two largest economies can solve an ongoing trade spat. According to Reuters, the planned talks were characterized as “lower level.”

Recent months have seen the U.S. and China slapping import tariffs on each other as a result of disagreements over the trade deficit between the two countries. This has led to investor concerns about the possibility of the trade war leading to a slowdown in global economic growth.

In a morning note, Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, said trade “really is the main market driver these days.”

Commenting on the news about the possibility of renewed U.S.-China trade talks, Carnell said: “The U.S. won’t allow this to go any further unless China sounds as if it is making sufficient concessions on the bilateral deficit, and intellectual rights.”

The Turkish lira, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks after touching a record low on Monday, continued strengthening from levels last seen during Asian trade on Thursday afternoon. The currency traded at 5.7963 per U.S. dollar at 3:41 p.m. HK/SIN.

On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said more economic sanctions could be placed on Turkey if the country did not hand over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, Reuters reported.

“The market has become much more volatile this year around these headlines, rumors even,” Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

With data from this year suggesting that global economic growth might have peaked, Kleintop said, markets have put more emphasis on what he terms “marginal issues” such as the situation between the U.S. and Turkey which are likely to have limited financial impact.

In the last session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 396.32 points to close 1.58 percent higher at 25,558.73, posting its biggest jump since April 10. Other U.S. indexes saw more moderate gains.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 96.495. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 110.72 as of 3:11 p.m. HK/SIN, after the safe haven Japanese currency traded above the 111 level earlier in the day.

Over in Shenzhen, the beleaguered Changsheng Biotechnology, which is part of an ongoing prosecution by the Chinese government for a scandal over the falsification of data in its vaccines, ended the trading session 5.02 percent lower, with Dow Jones reporting that the stock could see a possible de-listing.

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