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Jan. 13, 2020, 11:26 p.m. EST

Asian markets mixed after U.S. elevates China from currency manipulator

Investors optimistic ahead of signing of ‘phase one’ trade deal

By Marketwatch


Reuters
U.S. and Chinese banknotes.

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Tuesday, after the U.S. said China is no longer a currency manipulator ahead of the signing of a “phase one” trade agreement this week.

The U.S. Treasury Department stepped back from the decision it made last year, saying in a statement that it “has determined that China should no longer be designated as a currency manipulator at this time.”

The U.S. and China are expected to sign a “phase one” trade deal Wednesday in Washington, which the Treasury Department said will include enforceable commitments by China to refrain from currency devaluation and not target its exchange rate for competitive purposes.

“Investors’ unquenchable appetite for stocks is in hyperdrive, triggered by a further thawing in U.S.-China trade tension,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist for AxiTrader, wrote in a note.

Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   gained 0.7% as traders returned from a holiday Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI)   gave up early gains and was last down about 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP)   was about flat and the Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106)  dipped slightly after data showed China’s exports rose 5% in 2019 on yuan terms, the slowest growth in three years. South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721)   rose 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999)  , Singapore (SES:SG:STI)  , Malaysia (KLS:MY:FBMKLCI)   and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX)   were mostly positive. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO)   advanced 0.7%.

Among individual stocks, Sony (TKS:JP:6758)   Fast Retailing (TKS:JP:9983)   and SoftBank (TKS:JP:9984)   advanced in Tokyo trading, while Nissan (TKS:JP:7201)   sank. In Hong Kong, casino operators Galaxy Entertainment (HKG:HK:27)   and Sands China (HKG:HK:1928)   rose, while AAC (HKG:HK:2018)   and Geely Automobile (HKG:HK:175)   fell. LG Electronics (KRX:KR:066570)   and SK Hynix (KRX:KR:000660)   advanced in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor (TAI:TW:2330)   gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy (ASX:AU:BPT)   and Rio Tinto (ASX:AU:RIO)   rose in Australia.

On Monday, the S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX)   rose 22.78 points, or 0.7%, to 3,288.13. The Nasdaq composite (AMERICAN:COMP)   climbed 95.07 points, or 1%, to 9,273.93, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA)   gained 83.28 points, or 0.3%, to 28,907.05.

Benchmark crude oil   rose 13 cents to $58.21 a barrel, after falling 96 cents to $58.08 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil  , the international standard, rose 19 cents to $64.39 a barrel.

The dollar (XTUP:USDJPY)   rose to 110.09 Japanese yen from 109.89 yen on Monday.

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