Asia report: Markets mostly higher as Alibaba makes Hong Kong debut
Markets in Asia finished mostly higher on Tuesday, taking their lead from a bumper session on Wall Street overnight, with Alibaba surging on its debut in Hong Kong.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.35% at 23,373.32, as the yen weakened 0.06% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 108.99.
Fanuc and Fast Retailing were both higher on the benchmark index, rising 1.13% and 0.45% respectively, while SoftBank Group dropped 0.87%.
The broader Topix index was 0.16% higher by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,705.71.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite eked out gains of 0.03% to 2,907.06, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite was 0.32% firmer at 1,605.64.
South Korea’s Kospi was 0.1% lower at 2,121.35, while the Hang Seng Index slid 0.29% to close at 26,913.92.
Chinese e-commerce and technology giant Alibaba became the world’s largest listing of the year so far in Hong Kong, ending the day up 6.59%.
The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics flat, while SK Hynix rose 0.73%.
The trade war between the United States and China remained firmly in focus, after negotiators from both sides discussed “core issues” over the phone on Tuesday, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Beijing’s leading trade negotiator Liu He spoke with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, the statement claimed, although no details around what was discussed was released.
Markets are still keen for developments on a so-called first phase trade deal ahead of 15 December, when a fresh round of punitive tariffs on Chinese goods is set to kick in for US importers.
“Of course, the details of the call were lacking but the language used was promising which, let's face it, is all we have to go off and as long as that remains the case, investors will be optimistic of a deal,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.
Oil prices were higher at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last up 0.47% at $63.95 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate adding 0.6% to $58.36.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.83% to settle its trading session at 6,787.50, with Westpac Banking Corporation rising 1.72% in Sydney.
The major bank announced the resignation of its chief executive officer and the early retirement of its chairman during the session, after several days of losses for its stock amid major money laundering allegations from Australian authorities.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 climbed back above the 11,000 point level, adding 0.8% to close at 11,044.54.
The Wellington bourse was led higher by Tourism Holdings, which surged 6.8% as it rebounded from a two-year low.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.02% at AUD 1.4729, and the Kiwi advancing 0.08% to NZD 1.5571.