Asia stocks diverge as trade deal glow fades

Equities were mixed in early Asia-Pacific trading on Wednesday as the initial buzz from Monday’s US-Mexico trade deal waned. 

The CSI 300 index of major Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks was down 0.2 per cent. Chinese telecoms giant ZTE Corp’s Shenzhen-listed shares were 2.5 per cent higher after state media reported the company, which had to stop production earlier in the year after being hit by a ban in the US, had returned to normal production. 

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng China Enterprises index was 0.4 per cent lower and the broader Hang Seng index was off 0.1 per cent. 

The sentiment was better in Australia and Japan. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent higher as the key financial and basic materials segments rose 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively. And Tokyo’s Topix was 0.5 per cent higher with all segments in positive territory. 

In Taipei, key Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing rose to its highest level since March, buoyed by competitor GlobalFoundries’ decision to pull out of leading-edge chip production. That helped push the FTSE TWSE Taiwan 50 index in Taipei up 0.8 per cent.

The moves came after the S&P 500 index eked out a new record close on Wall Street overnight as the US-Mexico trade deal buoyed sentiment. But investors remained wary about the future of Nafta as high-stakes negotiations between US and Canadian officials kick-off in Washington. 

“Many obstacles remain, including whether Canada will accept the changes and join the revised pact, and how the White House will shepherd a bilateral agreement through Congress if Canada opts out”, said analysts at Société Générale analysts.


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