Asian Stocks Sluggish as US-China Trade Talks Resume This Week

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks closed Monday’s session on a lackluster note after U.S. President Donald Trump announced an agreement temporarily ending the record-setting government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall.

Investors looked ahead to the next round of U.S.-China trade talks as well as the next key Brexit debate in the House of Commons for further direction.

U.S.-China trade talks will resume in Washington this week, with markets hoping for a thaw in the escalating tensions after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries were “making a lot of progress” in trade talks.

Investors also shifted their attention to the Federal Reserve?s two-day meeting starting Tuesday amid growing expectations of dovish hints from the U.S. central bank.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index eased 0.2 percent to finish at 2,596.98 amid reports the Trump administration has been pressuring America’s allies to bar Huawei and other Chinese tech firms from building the infrastructure needed for the implementation of the next generation 5G wireless standard. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally higher at 27,576.96.

Japanese shares fell as the yen strengthened and investors braced for earnings results from major U.S. tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 124.56 points or 0.6 percent to 20,649, while the broader Topix closed 0.7 percent lower at 1,555.51.

Nissan Motor declined 0.8 percent as it faces a SEC probe in the U.S. over executive pay. Honda and Toyota fell around 1 percent. Asahi Group Holdings lost over 2 percent after it agreed to acquire U.K.-based Fuller, Smith & Turner’s brewing business for $330 million.

Auto electronics maker Pioneer fell 1.5 percent after it received shareholder approval for a capital injection of about 102 billion yen from Hong Kong-based private equity fund Baring Private Equity Asia.

Meanwhile, Sony gained 0.9 percent on a Nikkei report that the company is opening development centers for image sensors in the U.S. and Europe.

Seoul stocks ended roughly flat as investors waited for cues from the Fed meeting and another round of U.S.-China trade talks.

Shipbuilders surged after Qatar’s energy minister outlined plans to order 60 new liquefied natural gas carriers. Hyundai Heavy Industries rallied 2.5 percent, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering jumped over 4 percent and Samsung Heavy Industries climbed 5 percent.

Meanwhile, tech shares came under selling pressure, with SK Hynix losing 3.8 percent and LG Electronics declining 2.6 percent.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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