BridgeClimb Sydney via Reuters
Australian stocks rose, while New Zealand equities fell Wednesday, with those two markets among the only major Asia-Pacific indexes open on a day that was a public holiday in most countries.
Japan’s Nikkei remained shut as part of a 10-day holiday commemorating the installation of a new emperor, Naruhito, who was installed Wednesday, a day after his father officially abdicated.
In Beijing, the U.S. and China resumed trade negotiations, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer leading the U.S. delegation. The two sides are reportedly close to a final deal, and Mnuchin said Monday that he would know in the next week or two the deal will be good enough for him to recommend to President Donald Trump.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.61% closed up 0.8%, with financial stocks leading the way. ANZ Banking /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ -1.03% and Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -1.40% were among the top gainers, while mining giant Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +1.62% fell.
New Zealand’s NZX-50 /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.40% slipped 0.5%, with A2 Milk /zigman2/quotes/207461975/delayed NZ:ATM -0.58% falling. Data showed the country’s unemployment rate fell in the first quarter, beating market expectations. That may challenge the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s recent move to signal that interest rate cuts are likely.
Crude oil prices retreated, after rising Tuesday. U.S.-based West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery dipped after ending up 6% for the month of April. Global benchmark July Brent crude declined as well.