Economy Asian markets settle after rallying on US-China trade hopes

Asian markets settle after rallying on US-China trade hopes

Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Asian markets were mostly lower Thursday as U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs.

 Asian markets were mixed Thursday after U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of trade talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which closed up 1.1 percent on Wednesday, retreated 1.3 percent to 20,157.72. The Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.1 percent to 2,063.15. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng recovered to edge 0.1 percent higher, to 26,492.61, while the Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,545.37. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rebounded to gain 0.3 percent to 5,795.30. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

WALL STREET: Stocks rose for the fourth consecutive session after American and Chinese negotiators extended their talks to a third day. Traders took this as a positive sign, but a standoff over a partial U.S. government shutdown that appears far from being resolved limited gains. The S&P 500 index added 0.4 percent to 2,584.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4 percent to 23,879.12 and the Nasdaq composite was 0.9 percent higher at 6,957.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.9 percent to 1,438.81.

U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Official statements released after the talks, which lasted a day longer than planned, did not indicate if progress was made on a tariffs battle that has shaken financial markets. China’s Ministry of Commerce said there were “detailed exchanges” and both sides would “maintain close contact,” without offering specifics. A statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said negotiators will “report back to receive guidance on the next steps.” The talks come after President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met and agreed to hold off on more tariffs for 90 days, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina last month. Investors are hopeful that more and higher-level negotiations will follow.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “While there was agreement on less thorny issues such as agriculture and energy, U.S. demands for verification and enforceable targets on intellectual property rights, transfer of technologies and non-tariff barriers may not be that easily addressed,” DBS Group Research strategists Eugene Leow and Neel Gopalakrishnan said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Oil prices fell back after hitting their highest levels in almost a month. U.S. crude, which has jumped 15 percent in 2019, dropped 63 cents to $51.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It surged 5.2 percent to $52.36 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up 62 cents to $60.82 per barrel. It climbed 4.6 percent to $61.44 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 107.92 yen from 108.15 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1559 from $1.1543.

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