Asian markets mixed after news of planned telco merger in Australia

Asian markets were mixed territory in afternoon trade on Thursday, as two telecommunications companies, TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia, announced plans for a merger.

Down Under, the ASX 200 was up by 0.2 percent, with the telecommunications sector surging 3.27 percent. The moves come after Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) announced that a “proposed merger of equals” had been agreed upon between TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) has a 50 percent interest in Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

Following the announcement, shares of TPG Telecom were up by 16.12 percent while Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia)’s stock soared by 50 percent as of 9:42 a.m. HK/SIN.

South Korea’s Kospi traded largely flat. The index reached an intraday high of 2,320.85 earlier after news that U.S. President Donald Trump had signed proclamations which allow for “targeted relief from steel and aluminum quotas from some countries.”

Shares of the country’s steelmakers jumped following the announcement, with Hyundai Steel ahead by 1.32 percent while Posco traded up by 1.36 percent.

The Nikkei 225 was up by 0.75 percent at the open before rising to a more than three-month high, according to Reuters. The index settled to trade 0.17 percent up, with most major sectors gaining.

The Greater China markets were down in midday trade as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid by 0.61 percent. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite lost its earlier gains to trade down by 0.81 percent while the Shenzhen composite fell by around 1.2 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite rose one percent to close at 8,109.69, reaching yet another record high. The S&P 500 also gained 0.6 percent to close at 2,914.04, closing above 2,900 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 60.55 points and closed at 26,124.57.

Investor sentiments were also boosted by the announcement that Canada had rejoined the NAFTA talks, following the deal reached by the U.S. and Mexico earlier this week.

U.S. President Donald Trump has voiced optimism on the prospect of Canada joining the new U.S.-Mexico trade deal, while reiterating that the deadline for Ottawa to do so was on Friday, August 31.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was largely flat at 94.573 as of 12:43 p.m. HK/SIN.

The yen traded mainly firm against the dollar at 111.63 while the Australian dollar fell further by 0.3 percent at $0.7286 as of 12:44 p.m. HK/SIN.

Oil markets rose in midday Asia trade, the global benchmark brent crude was up by 0.17 percent at $77.27 a barrel. U.S. crude was up by 0.24 percent at $69.68 a barrel.

Source: CNBC