Nikkei flat, while Hang Seng surges higher
Asian markets mostly gained in early trading Friday, after yet more record highs on Wall Street.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.36% was about flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.30% gained 1.2%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.08% advanced 0.7% while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.67% edged up 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.29% inched up 0.5%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.75% , Singapore STI, +0.11% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.16% rose, while stocks were little changed in Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.44% . Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, +0.40% rose 0.3%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +1.47% and Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings 4689, +2.23% advanced in Tokyo trading, while Fast Retailing 9983, -2.01% and pharmaceutical company Otsuka Holdings 4578, -1.75% declined. In Hong Kong, property developer Country Garden 2007, +3.49% and casino operators Galaxy Entertainment 27, +2.76% and Sands China 1928, +2.60% gained. Samsung 005930, +2.65% surged in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +1.50% rose in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, -1.15% fell while BHP BHP, +1.05% gained in Australia.
U.S. stocks returned from the Christmas holiday and powered higher again Thursday, helped by reports of record year-end retail sales. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.78% closed at 9,000 for the first time ever, closing above 9,022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.37% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.51% closed at record highs as well.
European markets will reopen Friday after a two-day Christmas holiday.
Investors welcomed President Donald Trump’s comment that an interim “Phase 1” trade deal was “getting done.” Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold a signing ceremony.
Markets have been encouraged by positive comments about the agreement, though details have yet to be released.
Chinese customs data this week showed soybean imports rose in November in a possible boost to American farmers. Midwestern farm states were battered by Beijing’s suspension of purchases of U.S. soybeans, the biggest Chinese import from the United States, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes in a fight over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.
“Broadly risk sentiment is positive,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.
Benchmark U.S. crude CL00, +0.31% gained 13 cents to $61.81 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 57 cents on Thursday to close at $61.88. Brent crude BRNG20, +0.27% , used to price international oils, advanced 6 cents to $66.82 per barrel in London. It rose 60 cents the previous session to $66.76.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.12% weakened to 109.47 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen.