By Mike Murphy
Asian markets gained Monday after fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China receded.
On Sunday morning, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Trump administration would delay implementing tariffs on Chinese goods, and would “put the trade war on hold” while details of a trade deal are worked out. U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer later said the U.S. may still impose tariffs. On Saturday, after high-level deliberations in Washington, China agreed to buy more U.S. goods, though its negotiators refused to put a dollar amount on it.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.42% gained 0.6% Monday, with strong performances from tech and financial stocks. Smartphone component-makers Sunny Optical Technology Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -5.24% and AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -6.59% each surged, as did insurer AIA Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 -1.60% .
Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.3% on the back of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -0.78% , which rose nearly 2.5% after pulling back more than 4% last week. Stocks in Shanghai /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -3.71% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -3.23% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -1.52% advanced as well.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.67% and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -3.30% edged higher, despite losses from steelmakers such as Kobe Steel Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207391157/delayed JP:5406 -3.84% and Hyundai Steel Co. /zigman2/quotes/203290957/delayed KR:004020 -4.60% . Shares of Korea’s LG Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -3.21% made up early losses following the death of its 73-year-old chairman, Koo Bon-moo .
Only Australia failed to benefit from regional gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -3.25% rose initially but ended down less than 0.1%. Early optimism was pinned on Santos Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -2.57% , which jumped after receiving a $10.84 billion buyout bid from U.S.-based Harbour Energy, an 11% premium of Santos stock as of Friday’s close, according to Reuters .
Stocks in the U.S. were poised to jump when the market opens Monday, with Dow Jones futures up some 200 points, or 0.9%, and S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures up as well.