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Asia Markets

Dec. 15, 2019, 11:17 p.m. EST

Asian markets little changed despite U.S.-China trade deal

Nikkei about flat, while Hang Seng edges down

By Marketwatch and Associated Press


Bloomberg News
The Avenue of Stars is seen in Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong on Sunday.

Asian markets were muted in early trading Monday despite Friday’s news that the U.S. and China have agreed on a “phase one” trade deal.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Sunday that the deal “is totally done, absolutely,” adding that China committed to buy $40 billion of American farm products over the next two years. and promised to end its long-standing practice of pressuring companies to hand over their technology as a condition of market access. China on Sunday said it would postpone punitive tariffs against U.S.-made autos and other goods following the trade agreement.

“For now, escalation seems to be off the table. However, the path to the comprehensive agreement is still miles away,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader wrote in a note Sunday. “Ultimately, [the] phase-one deal fell short of market expectations and is probably not enough to fully restore business confidence or generate a meaningful recovery in exports or investment.”

Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   was about flat, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI)   slipped 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP)   rose slightly, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106)   gained 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721)   was little changed, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999)  , Singapore (SES:SG:STI)   and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX)   inched up. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO)   jumped 1.6%.

Among individual stocks, Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings (TKS:JP:4689)   gained in Tokyo trading, as did convenience-store chain FamilyMart (TKS:JP:8028)   and SoftBank (TKS:JP:9984)  . In Hong Kong, Sunny Optical (HKG:HK:2382)   and Galaxy Entertainment (HKG:HK:27)   rose, while AIA Group (HKG:HK:1299)   declined. Hyundai Motor (KRX:KR:005380)   fell in South Korea while BHP (ASX:AU:BHP)   and Westpac (ASX:AU:WBC)   advanced in Australia.

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