HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose Friday following strong leads from Wall Street and Europe, with investors cautiously optimistic about upcoming US-China trade talks.
Negotiators from Washington and Beijing will meet later this month for the first publicly announced dialogue in weeks on their bitter trade dispute, which has seen both sides impose reciprocal tariffs on goods worth $34 billion.
The news helped global markets regain composure after several days of volatility sparked by fears that Turkey’s financial crisis could infect other economies.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed 0.35 percent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.4 percent, and Sydney ended up 0.2 percent.
Manila, Seoul and Bangkok were also up in afternoon trade, but Shanghai closed down 1.3 percent.
Despite the positive wave through world markets after several nervous days, analysts have said a quick resolution of the trade spat between the world’s top two economies is unlikely.
Tit-for-tat tariffs by the US and China on another $16 billion of each other’s goods are due to kick in next week, and President Donald Trump has threatened to go after even more Chinese imports in the future.
Markets were “cautiously optimistic” about prospects of resolving the trade war after Beijing announced it would send a representative to Washington, although Rodrigo Catril of National Australia Bank noted the “relatively low rank of the negotiators” meant reaction was guarded.
While the US and China are talking tough, “there are reasons for both sides to come to a resolution,” Adam Reynolds of Saxo Capital Markets told Bloomberg TV.
And fears about Turkey’s financial crisis also persist, despite the recent stabilisation of the lira, as a diplomatic row with the US shows no signs of abating.
Washington has already imposed economic sanctions on Ankara over the detention of an American pastor, and threatened more if he is not released.
Meanwhile, the positive sentiment on Wall Street that impacted Friday’s Asian trade was boosted by retail behemoth Walmart’s strong earnings.
Plane maker Boeing and industrial machinery giant Caterpillar — two companies seen as especially vulnerable to the US-China trade war — were up too.
With a mixed mood in the markets after a troubled week, investors have taken positions in safer stocks as tensions have not completely subsided, analysts say.
“I don’t think we’re quite out of the woods yet,” Marcus Miholich of State Street Global Advisors told Bloomberg News.
At the start of European trading, Paris rose 0.1 percent, Frankfurt was almost flat, and London was unchanged.
Key figures around 0820 GMT
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.35 percent at 22,270.38 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.4 percent at 27,213.41 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.34 percent at 2,668.97 (close)
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.71 from 110.81
Euro/dollar: UP at 1.1409 from 1.1388
Dollar/Turkish lira: UP at 5.8640 from 5.7690
Pound/dollar: DOWN at 1.2726 from 1.2732
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 37 cents at $71.34 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 22 cents at $65.63 per barrel
London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,556.38 (open)
New York – Dow Jones: UP 1.6 percent at 25,558.73 (close)