Asian Equities Close Mixed on Sustained Trade Worries

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By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as trade worries persisted and investors digested key data from China and Japan.

The White House is holding off on a decision about licenses for U.S. companies to restart business with Huawei Technologies Co., Bloomberg reported after Chinese companies halted purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Chinese shares fell after the release of mixed inflation data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 19.80 points or 0.1 percent at 2,774.75.

Consumer prices in China rose an annual 2.8 percent in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. That exceeded expectations for 2.7 percent, which would have been unchanged from the June reading.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were up 0.4 percent after easing 0.1 percent in the previous month.

The bureau also said that producer prices sank 0.3 percent year-on-year, beneath expectations for a flat reading that would have been unchanged from the previous month.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 181.47 points or 0.7 0.69 percent to 25,939.30 as demonstrators gathered at Hong Kong’s international airport to reiterate their demands for human rights and freedom and put their case “in front of an international audience.”

Meanwhile, Japanese shares advanced after data showed the country’s economy grew at a faster than expected pace in the second quarter.

Japan’s GDP grew 0.4 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2019, the Cabinet Office said in a report. That beat expectations for an increase of 0.1 percent following the upwardly revised 0.7 percent gain in the previous quarter.

On an annualized basis, GDP gained 1.8 percent – again exceeding expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent following the upwardly revised 2.8 percent gain in the three months prior.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 91.47 points or 0.4 percent to 20,684.82, while the broader Topix ended up 0.4 percent at 1,503.84.

Mining, textile and apparel, and precision instrument issues led the gainers. Chip-related stocks fell on reports the Trump administration is delaying a decision on handing out licenses for U.S. companies to resume shipping to China’s Huawei. Shiseido jumped 8.1 percent and Toray Industries surged 6.1 percent on solid earnings.

Australian markets eked out modest gains, led by banks and miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 16.30 points or 0.3 percent to 6,584.40, while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 21.10 points or 0.3 percent to 6,663.40.

Lithium miners Orocobre and Pilbara Minerals soared 7-10 percent after the world’s biggest lithium producer Albemarle said it would delay construction of 125,000 metric tons of additional lithium processing capacity due to a supply glut.

Nickel miner Independence Group jumped 5.3 percent as nickel prices hit a 16-month high. Mining heavyweight BHP ended little changed, while rival Rio Tinto shed 0.9 percent.

Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac rose between half a percent and 0.7 percent. Tech stocks rallied, with Wisetech climbing 2.7 percent and Afterpay Touch jumping 6.1 percent.

On the other hand, casino operator Crown Resorts declined 1.3 percent after saying it would cooperate in a probe into Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s planned stake purchase in Crown.

Seoul stocks rose sharply as the Chinese yuan held steady after the release of consumer and producer inflation data. The benchmark Kospi climbed 17.14 points or 0.9 percent to 1,937.75.

YG Entertainment shares slumped 11 percent after the police launched a preliminary investigation into suspicions that the company’s founder engaged in overseas gambling.

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