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Aug. 15, 2019, 11:33 p.m. EDT

Asian markets mixed after conflicting trade messages from China

Nikkei, Hang Seng recover from morning losses

By Marketwatch and Associated Press

Bloomberg News
A cargo ship sails out of the Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, China.

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday, after China threatened to retaliate if the Trump administration goes ahead with its latest tariff threats, yet still held out hopes for a trade deal.

Beijing will take unspecified “necessary countermeasures,” China’s Cabinet said in a one-sentence statement. It gave no details or any indication plans for trade talks in Washington in September might be affected.

President Donald Trump has said he plans to impose 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports starting Sept. 1, extending penalties to almost everything the United States buys from China. The Chinese announcement made no mention of Trump’s decision Wednesday to postpone penalties on about 60% of those goods until Dec. 15.

Still, officials from China’s foreign ministry later said they hope a trade deal will still be worked out, and said Trump and President Xi Jinping have remained in contact.

Meanwhile, investors were keeping an eye on U.S. bonds. The the 30-year Treasury yield (XTUP:BX:TMUBMUSD30Y)   fell to an all-time low Thursday, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year note (XTUP:BX:TMUBMUSD10Y)   hit a three-year low.

Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   recovered from an early dip and was last about flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI)   advanced 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP)   gained 0.5% while the Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106)   rose 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721)   fell 0.9%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999)  , Singapore (SES:SG:STI)   and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX)   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO)   slipped 0.1%.

Among individual stocks, Screen Holdings (TKS:JP:7735)   and Inpex (TKS:JP:1605)   rose in Tokyo trading, while robotics maker Fanuc (TKS:JP:6954)   fell. In Hong Kong, Ping An Insurance (HKG:HK:2318)   and New World Development (HKG:HK:17)   gained, while Tencent (HKG:HK:700)   slipped. SK Hynix (KRX:KR:000660)   and LG Electronics (KRX:KR:066570)   declined in South Korea, and Foxconn (TAI:TW:2354)   advanced in Taiwan. In Australia, Oil Search (ASX:AU:BPT)   sank while Fortescue Metals (ASX:AU:FMG)   jumped.

China’s central bank set the daily midpoint for the yuan at 7.0312 per U.S. dollar, the seventh consecutive session it’s been set weaker than the 7 level.

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