Asia report: Markets mixed as investors watch for US-China trade news
Markets in Asia finished mixed on Monday, with investors once again starting the week with their attention firmly fixed on developments in the strained trade relationship between the United States and China.
In Japan, markets were closed for a public holiday celebrating the autumnal equinox, as the yen strengthened 0.1% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 107.45.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.98% to close at 2,977.08, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite was off 0.91% at 1,660.06.
South Korea’s Kospi was flat, finishing just 0.01% above the waterline to close at 2,091.70, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 0.81% to 26,222.40.
Firms related to the Fosun conglomerate were in the red in the special administrative region, as one of its major investments - British travel provider Thomas Cook - collapsed into receivership.
Shares in Fosun Tourism Group were down 4.73%, while Fosun International fell 1.53% in Hong Kong trading.
Both of the blue-chip technology stocks were in the green in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 0.2% and chipmaker SK Hynix rising 0.73%.
Investors were very much focussed on the ongoing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington, after China’s Ministry of Commerce said over the weekend that teams from the two nations had held “constructive” discussions in Washington last week.
The Chinese officials claimed both sides had agreed to maintain contact at the end of the talks.
Stocks on Wall Street had finished in the red on Friday, after the Chinese team cancelled a visit to farms in Montana, and headed back to Beijing earlier than expected.
That put the kibosh on renewed hopes that a trade deal could be on the horizon, according to analysts.
Oil prices were lower as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last down 0.56% at $63.92 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate losing 0.64% to $57.72.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 managed gains of 0.28% to close its trading session at 6,749.70, with energy plays among the big risers in Sydney.
Beach Energy was ahead 1.95% and Santos rose 0.64%.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was 0.4% firmer at 10,873.33, with former telecoms monopoly Spark rising 1.8%.
That came despite widespread criticism of its streaming performance in New Zealand’s opening game of the Rugby World Cup over the weekend - the first time the country’s most-watched sporting event has been streamed via the internet, rather than broadcast.
Spark buckled to the criticism during the match against South Africa, and allowed state broadcaster TVNZ to broadcast the second half on one of its channels for free.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.11% and the Kiwi advancing 0.24% to NZD 1.5936.