Asian stocks mixed in the afternoon as US-China trade jitters linger

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday afternoon as trade tensions between the U.S. and China remain in focus.

Both the Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi extended their earlier gains. The Nikkei 225 traded up by 0.16 percent in the afternoon while the Kospi saw gains of 0.27 percent with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics rising 1.34 percent.

Down Under, the ASX 200 recovered from its earlier losses to trade up by 0.14 percent, even though the heavily weighted financials sector remained slightly down.

The Greater China markets, however, remained in largely negative territory despite making a slight recovery from their morning lows, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index still down by 0.89 percent. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite was lower by 0.63 percent while the Shenzhen composite fell by around 1.08 percent.

Wall Street ended the trading week in negative territory on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite slid by 0.3 percent to close at 7,902.54, declining for the fourth straight day and posting its worst start to September since 2008. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to close at 2,871.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 79.33 points to 25,916.54.

The moves stateside came after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the country was primed to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth in Chinese goods. Trump’s comments came following the end of a deadline for public comment on U.S. tariffs for another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

While the U.S. tariffs on $200 billion Chinese goods have not been implemented, Trump said they could “take place very soon, depending on what happens with them.”

In a morning note, Mizuho Bank said Trump has “left no doubt” that the tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports into the U.S. are “imminent.”

“What’s striking is that escalating US trade aggression suggests that the appeals of US businesses, warning that tariffs will place burden of rising costs disproportionately on US businesses and consumers, have been in vain on Trump’s administration,” the note said.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 95.484 as of 12:12 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from its earlier low.

The Japanese yen lost its earlier gains but was still up slightly against the greenback at 111.00, while the Australian dollar was largely flat at $0.7106, as of 12:13 p.m. HK/SIN.

In oil markets, prices continued to increase in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures was up 0.59 percent at $77.28 a barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained by 0.62 percent at $68.17 a barrel.

Source: CNBC