Asian Stocks Close Mixed on US-China Trade Negotiations
By Investors Hub
Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as strong earnings from U.S. industrial giant 3M Co. as well as Apple CEO Tim Cook?s comments about U.S.-China trade tensions helped investors put growth and trade worries on the back burner.
The dollar index dipped slightly ahead of the Federal Reserve?s policy statement, while the British pound nursed losses after British lawmakers rejected most amendments that sought to avoid Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.
Oil prices edged higher on concerns about supply disruptions after the U.S. imposed sanctions on state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 18.68 points or 0.7 percent to 2,575.58 as investors awaited the conclusion of the Fed policy meeting and U.S.-China talks. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent to 27,642.85.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington this week to meet with U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump.
Japanese shares fell on earnings concerns and after drugmaker Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma said a clinical trial for a new drug failed to complete. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 108.10 points or 0.5 percent to 20,556.54, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,550.76.
Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma shares slumped 18.6 percent. Apple supplier Alps Alpine fell 3 percent despite Apple reporting sharp growth in its services business.
Akebono Brake Industry Co. plunged 18.2 percent despite the company announcing a turnaround plan.
On the data front, retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in December, a government report showed. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.4 percent following the downwardly revised 1.1 percent decline in November.
Australian stocks eked out modest gains as miners extended gains from the previous session on the back of strong iron ore and copper prices following a mining disaster in Brazil.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 12.50 points or 0.2 percent to 5,886.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 11.70 points or 0.2 percent at 5,951.20.
BHP Group rallied 2.6 percent and Rio Tinto soared 4.5 percent to hit multi-month highs, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group jumped 7.8 percent.
Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos climbed over 1 percent after oil prices gained more than 2 percent on Tuesday, supported by U.S. imposed sanctions on a Venezuelan state owned oil company.
Online furniture retailer Temple and Webster Group soared 11.2 percent after it reported a 40 percent surge in revenue for the first half of the year.
On the economic front, a government report showed that consumer prices in Australia rose 0.4 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2018, unchanged from the third quarter and in line with expectations.
On a yearly basis, inflation advanced 1.8 percent, exceeding expectations for 1.7 percent but down from 1.9 percent in the three months prior.