Asian markets mostly higher, boosted by energy stocks
Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, cheered by prospects for a resolution to the costly trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which had also sent Wall Street indexes higher.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +1.40% added 1.5% in morning trading, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.38% slipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.36% edged up 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.80% gained 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, +0.94% advanced 0.9% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite399106, +1.19% rose 1.1%.
Among individual stocks, oil company Inpex 1605, +13.75% soared in Tokyo trading after raising its annual profit forecast by 37%, while SoftBank 9984, +5.65% and Honda7267, +1.68% rose as well. Tech and oil stocks rose in Hong Kong, with AAC 2018, +7.46% , Sunny Optical 2382, +2.93% , PetroChina 0857, +2.24% and China Petroleum & Chemical 0386, +2.15% all advancing. LG Electronics 066570, +0.70% gained in South Korea while auto maker Hyundai 005380, -2.33% fell. In Australia, Beach Energy BPT, +5.03% surged after reporting a nearly 200% rise in profit and an improved guidance.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he might let a March 2 deadline slide in trade talks with China if the two countries get close to a deal. Earlier, the White House had called the date a “hard deadline.”
Both nations are trying to reach a deal before March 1. That’s when additional tariffs will kick in, escalating the conflict and further hurting companies and consumers with higher prices on materials and products.
A pan-Pacific trade dispute is detrimental to the export-dependent Asian region, and a slowdown in growth in China will hurt neighboring economies, such as Japan’s.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.29% gained 34.93 points, or 1.3%, to 2,744.73. The Dow DJIA, +1.49% climbed 372.65 points, or 1.5%, to 25,425.76. The index was briefly up by 405 points. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.46% rose 106.71 points, or 1.5%, to 7,414.62. The Russell 2000 index RUT, +1.27% of smaller-company stocks, which has been leading the other indexes this year, added 19.25 points, or 1.3%, to 1,538.23.
U.S. benchmark crude CLJ9, +0.99% rose 50 cents to $53.60 a barrel. It rose 1.3% to settle at $53.10 per barrel in New York. Brent crude LCOJ9, +1.01% , the standard for international oil prices, gained 53 cents to $62.95 per barrel in London.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.11% rose to 110.63 yen from 110.50 yen Tuesday.