Asia Markets: Asian markets mixed ahead of new round of U.S.-China trade talks

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Asian stocks were mixed on Monday as traders watched for developments on a fresh round of trade talks with the United States this week in Beijing. Markets in China and Taiwan, reopening after a weeklong Lunar New Year break, edged higher on hopes that American and Chinese officials will make progress on a wide-ranging dispute that has weighed on the global economy.

The Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, +0.83%   picked up 0.8% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +2.17%   jumped 2%. The Kospi SEU, -0.05%   in South Korea declined 0.1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.23%   rose 0.2%. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, -0.33%   was down 0.4%. Stocks rose in Taiwan Y9999, +0.97%   but fell in Singapore STI, -0.48%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.23%  . Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, tech names such as AAC 2018, +5.17%  , Sunny Optical 2382, +5.75%   and Tencent 0700, +1.22%   rose in Hong Kong, while real estate companies fell. Hyundai Motors 005380, +1.99%   rose in Korea, while Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +3.17%   and Foxconn 2354, +0.68%   rose in Taiwan. Bank stocks fell in Australia, led by National Australia Bank NAB, -2.06%   and ANZ Banking ANZ, -1.86%  .

Gains by technology and consumer goods companies led most U.S. indexes higher on Friday. They more than balanced out losses by financial stocks and retailers after a mixed bag of quarterly earnings. The broad S&P 500 index SPX, +0.07%   climbed 0.1% to 2,707.88 and the Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.14%   rose 0.1% to 7,298.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.25%   lost 0.3% to 25,106.33.

Officials from the U.S. and China will gather in Beijing for trade talks on Thursday and Friday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the American delegation at the talks, which are aimed at bringing both sides closer to resolving deep-seated issues such as unhappiness over Beijing’s technology policy. Lower-level negotiations are set to begin Monday, but a resolution isn’t expected before a truce on tariffs expires in early March. Any agreement before then, or a simple extension of the truce, will be viewed as a positive for markets. If not, the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10% to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Axios on Sunday reported White House advisors are considering President Donald Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, as a site for a potential summit with China’s Xi Jinping where a deal could be reached as soon as mid-March to end the trade war.

“For markets, after the worst December and best January in years, it appears that we are back at inflection point across various asset classes, waiting for direction yet again,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary.

U.S. crude CLH9, -1.33%   lost 56 cents to $52.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude LCOJ9, -0.90%  , used to price international oils, shed 46 cents to $61.64 per barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.19%   rose to 109.89 yen from 109.73 yen late Friday.

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