Fretting over U.S.-China trade tensions may have something to do with Asia market malaise this week. But Deloitte thinks “it would be a mistake to overstate the dangers” as most economies in the region have done well the past two years, “only slowed a little of late and they have the potential to remain resilient through 2019.”
That’s in part because of oil’s late 2018 slump, the firm contends, even though much of that decline has been reversed this year. Meanwhile, “trade tensions could spur local policymakers into stimulus (providing short-term support) and reforms (providing ongoing returns).”
Chinese stock indexes SHCOMP, +0.02% 399106, +0.07% are currently off about 0.3% in up-and-down early Friday action. Electric-vehicle makers and stocks linked to the Shanghai free-trade zone are rising while consumer stocks continue to pull back. Moutai 600519, -1.53% is off a 2%. Meanwhile, Visual China 000681, -10.00% fell the 10% daily limit after shutting down its patent-exchange platform amid a government order to fix what it calls illegal patent practices that include the black-hole picture recently published.
Hong Kong stocks are extending yesterday’s underperformance, starting lower amid gains in much of the rest of Asia this morning. After hitting fresh 10-month highs earlier this week, the Hang HSI, -0.21% s down a further 0.4%, as is the China Enterprises Index HSCEI, -0.14% . Materials and pharma lag early while smartphone-component maker AAC 2018, -0.48% eased more than 1%. But defensive utilities and conglomerates are relatively outperforming.
The Nikkei NIK, +0.60% was up 0.3% with Japan’s domestic-demand and financial stocks leading the way. Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing 9983, +7.75% is up 5.1%, the best big-cap performer, following its F2Q report. But Toshiba 6502, -3.12% is down 3.1%, the biggest big-cap loser, after it said a Chinese firm intended to cancel an agreement to purchase its U.S. liquid-natural-gas business.
Singapore shares have started little changed, following the generally slight moves seen this morning in other Asia markets. It seems for now that there’s been scant reaction to the country’s softer-than-expected 1Q GDP report and stand-pat policy statement from the central bank. The Straits Times Index STI, -0.14% is up less than 0.1% after hitting another 8-month closing high Thursday. Bank stocks are slightly higher, as are some REITs, while Singapore Telecom Z74, -0.63% has pulled back an early 0.3% after yesterday’s jump.
Malaysian stocks are little changed after the country’s benchmark slid yesterday to fresh 2-plus-year lows. As most indexes in Asia are up this morning, though generally modestly so, the Kuala Lumpur Composite FBMKLCI, +0.09% is up a point. But Petronas Chemicals PCHEM, -1.90% fell an early 1.7% following a fire. Construction stocks are also in focus as a new deal with China on Malaysia’s east coast rail project could come as early as today.
This story was compiled from Dow Jones Newswire reports.
Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.