By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday as investors sought clarity after conflicting messages about the state of U.S.-China trade talks.
Chinese officials announced Thursday that a mutual rollback of tariffs had been agreed upon as part of a “phase one” trade deal, but while one U.S. official confirmed that, two others disputed it, according to the Wall Street Journal. Reuters reported that the subject of rolling back tariffs faced “fierce internal opposition” within the White House.
China got encouraging economic news as exports fell less than expected in October, down just 0.9% from the prior year compared to September’s 3.2% decline. Experts had expected a 3.1% fall. Chinese imports also fell less than expected.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.64% inched up 0.1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.88% retreated 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.47% rose 0.3% and the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.13% gained 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.05% declined 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.43% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.49% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.15% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -1.10% were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.02% dipped 0.2%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank
gained in Tokyo trading, as did Toyota
, while retailers Fast Retailing
fell. In Hong Kong, Geely Automobile
rose while New World Development
declined. SK Hynix
fell in South Korea while Apple component maker Largan Precision
advanced in Taiwan. Beach Energy
and Woodside Petroleum
gained in Australia.
If the deal pans out, “it will be an emphatic upside surprise for the global economy,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.
However, “we cannot rule out a gap” between the U.S. and Chinese positions, Varathan warned. And he said the Federal Reserve might turn “less dovish” if the deal “takes off with more promise than anticipated” and tariffs fall, easing pressure on U.S. economic growth.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.01% gained 0.3% to a record 3,085.18. It was up 0.7% at one point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.03% climbed 0.7% to a record 27,674.80. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.30% finished just shy of its all-time high after rising 0.3% to 8,434.52.
Encouraging reports on the U.S. economy and corporate profits have helped drive stocks back to record heights. The job market is strong, and the Fed has cut interest rates three times.
That leaves the U.S.-Chinese trade war as the wild card for the global economy.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 20 cents to $56.95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 80 cents on Thursday to close at $57.15. Brent crude , used to price international oils, declined 10 cents to $62.19 per barrel in London. It advanced 55 cents the previous session to $62.29.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.3237% declined to 109.24 yen from Thursday’s 109.28 yen.