Nikkei about flat; Hang Seng slips in holiday-shortened session
Asian markets were mixed in quiet trading Tuesday, following another record day on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.34% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.09% closed at record highs for a third consecutive day, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.23% notched a record ninth-straight record close.
Traders have been buoyed by the pending phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China, which announced Monday plans to open its oil, telecom and power markets wider to private competitors.
On Tuesday, leaders from China, Japan and South Korea were meeting against the backdrop of increasing threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The trilateral summit aims to smooth some regional frictions, and discuss furthering regional cooperation on the economy.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.04% was about flat and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.15% fell 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.67% advanced 0.3% while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +1.38% rose 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.62% fell 0.5%, while stocks inched up in Singapore STI, +0.24% but fell slightly in Taiwan Y9999, -0.38% . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.13% rose 0.2%. Markets in Australia and Hong Kong were set to close early for Christmas Eve. Many global markets will be closed Wednesday for the Christmas holiday.
Among individual stocks, Fuji Electric 6504, +1.19% and tech-equipment maker Advantest 6857, +1.30% gained in Tokyo trading, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings 8750, -1.40% and Nikon 7731, -1.52% fell. In Hong Kong, casino operator Sands China 1928, +1.13% rose while stock-market operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing 388, -0.94% and China Construction Bank 939, -0.75% declined. Samsung 005930, -0.90% slipped in South Korea, and Beach Energy BPT, +3.17% surged in Australia.
The market’s latest gains came on a day of mostly muted trading as investors kicked off a holiday-shortened week. U.S. markets were scheduled to open for only a half day on Tuesday and then close Wednesday for Christmas.
“Right now, a lot of people have gone home for the year and the path of least resistance is higher,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It’s hard to see any kind of meaningful trend change between now and the end of the year.”
Momentum for stocks has been clearly upward for months, driving the major stock indexes to record highs. The benchmark S&P 500 index has finished with a weekly gain in 10 out of the past 11 weeks.
Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, and the central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil US:CLF20 lost 3 cents to $60.49 per barrel. Brent crude BRNG20, +0.42% , the international standard, was down 2 cents at $65.40 per barrel.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.02% to Japanese yen was flat at 109.39 yen.