By Associated Press and Marketwatch
Asian shares gained, though off session highs, Wednesday after the U.S. said it would hold off on tariffs of Chinese imports of mobile phones, toys and several other items typically on holiday shopping lists.
Early gains were tempered by data that China’s industrial output in July was worse than expected, rising 4.8% compared to a 6.3% gain in June. Economists had forecast a 5.9% gain, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.23% lost some early gains and was last up 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.47% also gave up early gains, and was up 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.04% edged up 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.57% gained 0.8%, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.32% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.03% and Indonesia advanced. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.74% was last about flat.
Among individual stocks, Screen Holdings /zigman2/quotes/200599327/delayed JP:7735 +0.72% and Kobe Steel /zigman2/quotes/207391157/delayed JP:5406 +1.58% surged in Tokyo trading. Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 +4.24% and SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +0.05% also rose. In Hong Kong, Apple component suppliers Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -1.05% and AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -0.35% soared on the tariff news, and Wharf Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed HK:1997 -1.47% gained as well. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -0.36% and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 -1.41% advanced in South Korea, while Foxconn /zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed TW:2354 -0.71% and Largan Precision /zigman2/quotes/210444196/delayed TW:3008 -0.44% gained in Taiwan. In Australia, Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -3.28% and Fortescue Metals /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -0.67% rose.
Also boosting investor sentiments were comments from China that the two sides held discussions on trade overnight and would talk again the next two weeks.
China’s central bank on Wednesday set the daily midpoint for the yuan at 7.0312 per dollar, the fifth straight day it was set weaker than the 7 level, but stronger than what analysts had expected.
The benchmark S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.95% snapped a two-day losing streak and rose 42.57 points, or 1.5%, to 2,926.32. It had been up as much as 2.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.85% gained 372.54 points, or 1.4%, to 26,279.91. The average briefly climbed 519 points. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.55% jumped 152.95 points, or 1.9%, to 8,016.36.
The markets have been in the spin cycle since President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 1 that he would impose 10% tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese imports, which would be on top of 25% tariffs already in place on $250 billion of imports. The threat dashed hopes that a resolution may come soon in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, and investors have grown increasingly concerned that it may drag on through the U.S. elections in 2020.
On Tuesday, The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it would delay the tariffs on some products, including popular consumer goods, until Dec. 15. A few other products were removed altogether, including certain types of fish and baby seats.
But some analysts were cautious.
“Markets are responding with muted relief to the latest round in the trade saga - but nothing has really changed,” said Robert Carnell, chief economist head of research, Asia-Pacific, at ING.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 48 cents to $56.62 a barrel. It rose $2.17, or 4%, to $57.10 per barrel Tuesday. Brent crude , the international standard, fell 37 cents $60.93.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.3742% rose to 106.42 Japanese yen from 105.16 yen.