Asian Stocks Close Mixed Amid Renewed Trade Worries
By Investors Hub
Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday, as caution prevailed amid renewed trade worries and ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs data for July later in the day.
China?s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 27.58 points or 1 percent to 2,740.44 after a survey from Caixin showed China?s services sector continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace. Hong Kong?s Hang Seng Index edged down 38.24 points or 0.1 percent to 27,676.32.
The service sector PMI stood at 52.8, down from 53.9 in the previous month as new orders expanded at their weakest rate in more than two and a half years.
Japanese shares closed roughly flat as trade war jitters and caution ahead of key U.S. jobs data kept investors on the sidelines. The Nikkei 225 Index inched up 12.65 points or 0.1 percent to 22,525.18, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,742.58, dragged down by banks.
Suzuki Motor jumped 8.6 percent after the automaker posted a record-high operating profit in the first quarter. On the other hand, Toyota Motor shed 0.9 percent despite reporting a 19 percent rise in first quarter profits, beating estimates.
In economic news, the services sector in Japan continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Nikkei showed with a PMI score of 51.3, down from 51.4 in the previous month.
Minutes from the Bank of Japan?s June meeting showed that board members were worried about soft inflation and the rising cost of ultra-loose monetary policy.
Australian shares fluctuated before closing marginally lower on trade war concerns. Weaker base metal prices on concerns over a global trade war weighed on the mining sector, with BHP Billiton losing 1.6 percent and Rio Tinto ending down 1.4 percent. Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac fell around 1 percent.
Meanwhile, a weaker Aussie dollar helped lift healthcare stocks, with Cochlear and CSL rising half a percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy rose 1-2 percent after U.S. crude futures rose nearly 2 percent on Thursday amid expectations that inventories would soon decline again.
On the data front, retail sales figures for June topped forecasts, while a survey showed Australia’s service sector activity expanded at a much slower rate in July.