Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Asian stocks end mixed ahead of G20


Asian stocks ended the month in mixed fashion as investors awaited a crucial meeting between the US and Chinese presidents with the course of the trade war at stake.

Shares moved higher in Tokyo, slipped in Seoul and slumped in Sydney.

Data showing that China’s economy remains in a weak patch had little effect, with Shanghai and Hong Kong stocks rising.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 2.67 points, or 0.03 percent, at the day’s low of 9,888.03, up 2.3 percent for the week.

Japan’s TOPIX on Friday rose 0.5 percent, while South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.9 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.6 percent.

The Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent to 26,506.75, and gained 2.2 percent for the week.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.4 percent to 10,621.74 on Friday, and was up 2.2 percent for the week.

Energy companies led the gains in Hong Kong due to a rise in oil prices on Friday.

The gains came after reports that OPEC and Russia were moving closer to a deal on cutting production. Expanding supply from the US also helped.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.8 percent.

CNOOC Ltd (中國海洋石油), up 3.7 percent, was the highest percentage gainer on the Hang Seng and among H-shares on Friday.

The second and third-largest H-share percentage gainers were China Resources Land Ltd (華潤置地), ending 2.7 percent firmer, and Huaneng Power International Inc (華能國際電力), closing up 1.9 percent.

Investors in global markets were keeping a close eye on the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina yesterday.

However, the Hong Kong market took a brief break from worrying about the trade war on Friday, said Steven Leung (梁偉源), a Hong Kong-based director of sales at UOB Kay Hian Holdings Ltd (大華繼顯控股).

Trump said he was very close to “doing something” with China.

“You can’t really read anything from that,” Leung said regarding Trump’s comments. “Rather, what [US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome] Powell said was more meaningful. Hong Kong is very rate-sensitive. That’s also why recently Hong Kong has not really been tracking China in recent sessions.”

Powell on Wednesday said that the US central bank’s policy rate was “just below” estimates of a level that neither brakes nor boosts a healthy US economy, comments that many investors read as signalling the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle is drawing to a close.

Additional reporting by AP and CNA

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