Asia stocks post slim gains as investors eye trade tensions

Asia stocks post slim gains as investors eye trade tensions
The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Asian markets are modestly higher as investors watch developments in the simmering trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to finish at 21,794.32. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.8 percent to 5,857.00. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,450.74. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.6 percent to 30,715.92, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.7 percent to 3,190.32.

TRADE WORRIES: Indexes have fluctuated as investors try to guess the outcome of the U.S.-China trade dispute. President Donald Trump continued to bash America’s trade deals on Twitter, but said the U.S. and China could settle their dispute. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promised to cut China’s auto import tariffs and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in its auto industry in comments analysts said could signal a somewhat conciliatory stance.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index gained 0.3 percent to 2,613.16. The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent last week, with large losses Monday and Friday and strong gains in between. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to 23,979.10. The Nasdaq composite jumped 0.5 percent to 6,950.34 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 0.1 percent, to 1,514.46.

THE QUOTE: “Investor sentiment is pinballing between two key themes. Trade wars vs trade negotiations, and the broader improving growth vs rising interest rates. Current sentiment is positive, although Asia Pacific futures markets are flattish after anticipatory gains yesterday,” Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 78 cents to $64.20 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to $63.42 a barrel overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 82 cents to $69.47 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was little changed, slipping to 107.06 yen from 107.12 late Monday. The euro rose to $1.2325 from $1.2275.


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