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Asia report: US-China trade deal news fails to inspire markets

18 Apr, 2019 11:53

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(Sharecast News) - Asian markets were mixed on Thursday as following a subdued session on Wall Street, with investors largely ignoring signals that the US and China may be drawing close to a trade agreement.

The two nations have set the week of 29 April aside for US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to travel to Beijing for face-to-face negotiations, with both sides optimistic that a final deal could be signed in May or early June, Dow Jones reported, citing a source familiar with the situation.

By Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "It turned out to be a somewhat mixed day for global markets yesterday with European markets edging up to new six-month highs, while US markets slipped back. This weaker tone appears to have trickled through into Asia markets this morning and looks set to result in a lower European open this morning as we head into the long Easter break."

Japan's Nikkei 225 index was down 0.84% at 22,090.12 after disappointing results for factory activity and manufacturer confidence.

Multinational conglomerate Softbank dropped by 2% and video games giant Nintendo fell by just over 1%, while the yen was up 0.13% against the US dollar at JPY111.91.

China's Shangai Composite index was down 0.40% at 3,250.20 and the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite dropped 0.59% to 1,762.30 as stocks retreated from a 13-month high due to profit taking.

Hunan Fangsheng Pharmaceutical was down 10%, while Xinjiang Xintai Natural Gas and Sumec Corp both dropped by just over 9%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.54% to 29,963.26 amid similar profit taking, with the index's fall led by a 4% drop from Byd Co and a 3.6% fall from Guangzhou Automobile Group.

South Korea's Kospi was down 1.43% at 2,213.77 as index bellweather Samsung fell by more than 3% after reports that reviewers reported that the company's new $2,000 foldable smartphone was breaking after just two days of use.

Brent crude was pretty much flat at $71.60 and WTI dropped by 0.1% to $63.70.

The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.05% at 6,259.82 as Australian labour force data beat expectations with 25,700 jobs added on a seasonally adjusted basis in March, well above the 12,000 forecasted by a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, the S&P/NZX 50 fell by 0.23% to 9,959.62 as Genesis Energy and Mercury NZ dropped by 3% and 2% respectively as they both warned annual earnings may be weaker due as limited gas supplies drive up wholesale power costs.

The index was led lower by Tourism Holdings, which dropped by 17% after it downgraded earnings guidance for the second time in two months due to flagging US vehicle sales.

The Australian dollar was down 0.24% against the greenback at AU$1.40, while the New Zealand dollar was 0.48% weaker at NZ$1.49.

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