Sun, Jan 12, 2020 - Page 14 News List

Asian stocks trade mixed ahead of US jobs report

Bloomberg and Reuters, HONG KONG

A man walks past a stock indicator displaying share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday ahead of the latest reading on the US labor market, with a regional benchmark holding near an 18-month high.

Shares in Japan and Australia nudged up along with US equity futures, while gains fizzled in Hong Kong and China.

Signs that America and Iran have stepped back from the brink of war helped revitalize risk appetite since the middle of the week.

A well-flagged partial trade deal between the US and China looks locked in as China’s vice premier is to visit Washington on Wednesday for a signing ceremony.

Investors also received reassurance from US Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida that the US economy remains in a good place and the central bank is not about to switch course.

“If growth recovers and even if inflation overshoots a little bit, the Fed is probably going to let it run, and that probably goes for other central banks, but if growth weakens they could cut again,” JPMorgan Asset Management global strategist Patrik Schowitz told Bloomberg Television. “You have this asymmetric setup and that’s quite helpful for markets.”

In Taipei, the TAIEX rose 0.45 percent to close at 12,024.65, falling 0.7 percent for the week.

Hong Kong stocks closed higher for the sixth straight week on Friday as investors remained upbeat in the run up to the signing of the “phase one” trade deal between China and the US.

At the close of trade, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.3 percent at 28,638.20, near its highest level since Friday last week hit earlier in the session.

The index ticked up 0.7 percent from the previous week.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.1 percent on Friday, and was up by pretty much the same margin week-on-week.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 1.2 percent on Friday, IT sector rose 1.7 percent, financial sector rose 0.2 percent and property shares lost 0.1 percent.

US President Donald Trump, who announced last month that the phase one trade deal with China would be signed on Wednesday, said on Thursday that the agreement could be signed “shortly thereafter.”

Trump said that Washington would start negotiating a “phase two” trade agreement soon, but that he might wait to complete any deal until after the US presidential election in November.

Some of the weekly gains in Hong Kong were made after signs of modest improvement in the Chinese economy emerged and as Beijing rolled support measures, encouraging investors.

In Japan, the TOPIX rose 0.35 percent on Friday, taking its weekly gains to 2.2 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.9 percent on Friday, rising 1.4 percent for the week.

In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 Index on Friday rose 0.8 percent, up 2.9 percent for the week.

India’s SENSEX on Friday gained 0.4 percent, up 0.3 percent on the week, while the NIFTY 50 added 0.3 percent on the day and for the week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index on Friday slipped 0.3 percent, down 0.8 percent for the week.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index on Friday fell 0.3 percent, down 1.24 percent for the week.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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