By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mostly up in early trading Thursday as trade-war tensions eased after President Donald Trump announced a two-week delay in implementing tariff hikes against $250 billion in Chinese goods.
In a pair of tweets late Wednesday, Trump said the tariff hikes, which had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, will be put off until Oct. 15 as a “gesture of good will.” Earlier in the day, China said it would exempt some U.S. goods from tariff hikes it intends to impose starting Sept. 17. The conciliatory moves appear to be efforts to create goodwill before the resumption of trade negotiations in early October.
In a positive sign, Trump and China appear “willing to negotiate to put an end to this trade war spat,” Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note.
Investors were also optimistic of a rate cut by the European Central Bank later Thursday. Policy makers are expected to announce further monetary stimulus at a news conference Thursday morning, Eastern time.
Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) gained 0.8% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI) slid 0.5% after Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing made an unsolicited $36.6 billion bid to buy London Stock Exchange. Stocks in mainland China gave up early gains, with the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) and the Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106) last about flat. Stocks fell in Singapore (SES:SG:STI) and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX) but rose in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999) and Malaysia (KLS:MY:FBMKLCI) . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) advanced 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi was closed for a holiday.
Among individual stocks, Yahoo Japan (TKS:JP:4689) rose in Tokyo trading on reports it would buy a majority stake in e-commerce giant Zozo (TKS:JP:3092) . Rival Rakuten (TKS:JP:4755) fell on the news, while Honda (TKS:JP:7267) and Sony (TKS:JP:6758) gained. In Hong Kong, AAC (HKG:HK:2018) and Galaxy Entertainment (HKG:HK:27) rose while PetroChina (HKG:HK:857) and AIA Group (HKG:HK:1299) declined. Largan Precision (TAI:TW:3008) gained again in Taiwan. Beach Energy (ASX:AU:BPT) fell in Australia while Virgin Australia (ASX:AU:VAH) gained.