Asian markets were muted in early trading Tuesday amid positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front.
President Donald Trump said Monday that trade negotiations on a “phase one” deal are going faster than expected, and said the deal would “take care of “ U.S. farmers and bankers. Later in the day, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it is considering extending tariff exemptions that were approved last December on $34 billion in Chinese goods.
The news did not boost Chinese stocks though. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.30% slipped 0.3% after administrator Carrie Lam said the ongoing pro-democracy protests risked sending the city into recession, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.40% fell 0.4% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.29% retreated 0.3%. Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.47% rose 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.20% slipped 0.2%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.07% , Singapore STI, +0.65% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.02% were up slightly. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.10% was little changed.
Among individual stocks, Mazda Motor 7261, +3.19% and Kobe Steel 5406, +2.70% gained in Tokyo trading while Canon 7751, -1.16% fell. In Hong Kong, food processor WH Group 288, +8.06% surged while HSBC 5, -1.49% and Tencent 700, -1.37% dropped. Samsung 005930, -0.97% inched down in South Korea, while BHP BHP, +1.27% and Rio Tinto RIO, +1.24% gained in Australia.