News Home » World » Asian stocks gain despite US-China trade jitters

Around the World

Asian stocks gain despite US-China trade jitters

Lisa Micheal 78 January 24, 2019

Stocks in Asia gained Friday morning despite fresh overnight uncertainties about U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The mainland Chinese markets, watched in relation to Beijing's trade fight with Washington, advanced in early trade. The Shanghai composite gained approximately 0.7 percent while the Shenzhen component rose 0.372 percent. The Shenzhen composite advanced 0.171 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1 percent. Shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent rose 1.45 percent on the back of the company receiving approvals for two new games after months of waiting.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan added about 0.9 percent while the Topix index gained 0.81 percent. Shares of conglomerate Softbank Group rose 0.82 percent.

Before market open, official data showed core consumer prices in Tokyo rose 1.1 percent on-year in January, beating an estimated 0.9 percent increase predicted in a Reuters poll. The inflation measure accounts for oil products but does not include fresh food prices.

South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.67 percent as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix extended their gains from Thursday.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose about 0.76 percent, with most sectors seeing gains.

The heavily-weighted financial subindex Down Under added about 0.54 percent as shares of the country's so-called Big Four Banks gained. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was up 0.77 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.3 percent, Westpac advanced 0.93 percent and National Australia Bank added 0.77 percent.

"Global financial markets continue to crave certainty on a number of issues and are still finding trends hard to come by as they are pushed and pulled in either direction on an almost daily basis," analysts at Rakuten Securities Australia said in a morning note.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that China and the U.S. were not close to striking a trade deal. He told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the U.S. is "miles and miles" from a trade deal with China, adding the two countries have "lots and lots of issues."

Ross' comments come as China and the U.S. are racing to strike a trade deal by early-March. If they don't, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will come into effect. The two economic powerhouses have been engaged in an ongoing trade fight since last year.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set for a scheduled visit to the U.S. next week for high level talks.

In overnight market action on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 22.38 points to close at 24,553.24 while the S&P 500 advanced around 0.14 percent to finish its trading day at 2,642.33. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.68 percent to close at 7,073.46.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.514 after seeing lows below 96.2 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.74 against the dollar after touching highs below 109.5 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.7086 after seeing highs above $0.715 yesterday.

The British pound saw strong gains in the morning of Asian trade, gaining 0.28 percent to $1.31.

— Reuters contributed to this report.