Nikkei about flat; Hang Seng rises after latest massive protest
Asian shares had a mixed session Monday amid a wait-and-see attitude about the direction of interest rates and the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index HSI, +0.40% rose 0.4% as tensions appeared to ease despite another massive protest Sunday, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.20% was up 0.2%. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.03% was flat in morning trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.35% lost 0.4%, while South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.22% slipped 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.06% was flat, while benchmark indexes in Singapore STI, -0.45% slipped 0.2% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.96% fell 1%.
Among individual stocks, Rakuten 4755, +4.16% , Sony 6758, +2.49% and SoftBank 9984, +1.85% advanced in Tokyo trading, while semiconductor-equipment maker Advantest 6857, -2.92% sank. In Hong Kong, property companies, such as Wharf Real Estate Investment 1997, +2.99% and New World Development 17, +2.09% , rose along with Sunny Optical 2382, +0.29% and oil producer CNOOC 883, +1.46% . Samsung 005930, -0.23% inched up in South Korea, while Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -1.27% retreated in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, -3.01% and Rio Tinto RIO, -1.40% fell in Australia.
On Wall Street, stocks ended a choppy week of trading with modest losses.
The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.16% fell 4.66 points, or 0.2%, to 2,886.98 Friday and ended the week with a slim gain of 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.07% dropped 17.16 points, or 0.1%, to 26,089.61. The Nasdaq composite COMP, -0.52% slid 40.47 points, or 0.5%, to 7,796.66.
Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell set off a market rally after he signaled that the central bank is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the trade war between Washington and Beijing starts to slow economic growth.
The Fed holds its next meeting of policyholders this week, but no action on rates is expected.
Economists expect Fed officials to wait until the second week of July to indicate whether they intend to cut rates, after seeing the next government report on the jobs market and other economic data.
Market watchers are also closely watching the results of the G-20 summit in late June, where President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet and try to negotiate a deal on trade.
“Sentiments around the ability to achieve a positive turn in U.S.-China trade negotiations, should the Trump-Xi meeting materialize at the sidelines of the G-20, remain tentative,” says Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
“And the G-20 itself is merely a stage to kick the can down the road and a long, long way off a complete retraction of global trade tensions.”
Benchmark crude oil CLN19, -1.07% added 15 cents to $52.66 a barrel. It rose 0.4% to settle at $52.51 a barrel Friday. Brent crude oil BRNQ19, -1.13% , the international standard, added 29 cents to $62.30 a barrel.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.13% rose to 108.60 Japanese yen from 108.23 yen on Friday.