Asian Shares Close Higher as US, China Suspend Trade War
By Investors Hub
Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Monday after the U.S. and China agreed to put the trade war on hold and set up a framework for addressing trade imbalances in the future.
Chinese stocks rose after the U.S. and China made meaningful progress in two days of high-level talks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index gained 20.54 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 3,213.84 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended up 0.6 percent at 31,234.35.
A weaker yen and solid trade balance data helped lift Japanese shares, with the Nikkei average closing up 72.01 points or 0.31 percent at 23, 002.37, extending gains for the third consecutive session. The broader Topix index closed marginally lower at 1 813.75.
Japan posted a merchandise trade surplus of 625.977 billion yen in April, the Ministry of Finance said – up 30.9 percent on year. The headline figure exceeded expectations for a surplus of 440.0 billion yen following the downwardly revised 797.0 billion yen surplus in March (originally 797.3 billion yen).
Exporters closed modestly lower despite the yen falling to more than a 4-month low of 111.37 against the greenback. Advantest lost 4.1 percent, Sompo Holdings fell as much as 6.9 percent and MS&AD Insurance Group shed 4 percent.
Australian shares ended little changed with a negative bias, dragged down by financials and material stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 and the broader All Ordinaries index both closed marginally lower at 6,084.50 and 6,190.20, respectively.
Banks followed their U.S. peers lower, with Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac ending down between 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent.
Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto dropped 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively amid declining iron ore prices.
Energy stocks surged higher, with Santos climbing 1.8 percent after it received an improved $US10.84 billion ($14.4 billion) offer from Harbour Energy. AGL Energy rose 1.1 percent after it rejected Alinta Energy’s A$250 million offer to buy Liddel Power Station.
Vocus Group slumped 4.2 percent after the company named former Optus boss Kevin Russell as managing director and chief executive, three months after Geoff Horth resigned.
Seoul stocks ended higher as an economic truce between the U.S. and China eased fears of a trade war. The benchmark Kospi inched up 4.92 points or 0.20 percent to 2,465.57.