By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets finished mixed Thursday after President Donald Trump signed an order that would ban telecom equipment from countries considered “foreign adversaries,” in a move apparently targeted at China’s Huawei Technologies.
On Wall Street, a promising update on the Trump administration’s efforts to reach a trade deal with Canada and Mexico by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put investors in a buying mood on Wednesday
Sentiment also got a boost from reports that the White House plans to delay new tariffs on car and auto parts imports from Europe by up to six months.
Mnuchin also said he expected to travel soon to Beijing to resume talks on the trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and cast doubt over the global economic outlook.
But the rally fizzled in Asia, after Trump issued an executive order declaring a national economic emergency that empowers the government to ban the technology and services of “foreign adversaries” deemed to pose unacceptable risks to national security. While it doesn’t name specific countries or companies, it follows months of U.S. pressure on Huawei, the world’s biggest supplier of network gear. A ban would also affect China-based ZTE Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205359573/delayed HK:763 -0.78% , which saw its stock tumble in Hong Kong trading.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39% fell 0.6%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.09% finished flat. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.31% rose 0.6%, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +1.12% ended up 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.49% fell 1.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 0.8%, while benchmark indexes in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.55% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -1.01% were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.33% closed up 0.6%.
Among individual stocks, Toyota /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +1.10% and Honda /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -0.07% fell in Tokyo trading despite the reports that Trump will postpone tariffs on auto imports. Hyundai /zigman2/quotes/206684590/delayed KR:005380 -1.54% and Kia Motors /zigman2/quotes/206019389/delayed KR:000270 -1.23% gained in South Korea, though, while tech giant Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -1.33% fell. In Hong Kong, tech companies such as Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -1.60% , AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -1.22% and Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -2.20% slid. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -3.24% advanced while Westpac Banking /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +0.47% fell in Australia.
Stocks have been whipsawed this week by worries over the worsening relationship between China and the U.S. and its impact on the broader global economy.
Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies intensified over the last week. The Trump administration more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports and spelled out plans to target the $300 billion worth that aren’t already facing 25% taxes. The escalation covers everything from sneakers to toasters to billiard balls. The Chinese have retaliated by hiking tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports.
“The only real piece of good news is that the U.S. has announced it will defer its decision on auto tariffs to November, perhaps aimed at placating allies such as Germany and Japan as it fights a trade war with China,” said Chang Wei Liang, of the Asia & Oceania Treasury Department at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
The U.S. and Japan also are holding trade talks, and trade issues are expected to be on the agenda at the summit of the Group of 20 industrial nations later this month in Japan.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 92 cents to $62.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 0.4% to $62.02 per barrel Wednesday. Brent crude , the international standard, added 98 cents to $72.75 per barrel.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0197% rose to 109.75 Japanese yen from 109.59 yen.