Asian markets mixed as U.S.-China trade deal needs more time


Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday amid a report that there’s still a ways to go before the U.S. and China finalize a “phase one” limited trade deal.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said ongoing negotiations are hoped to be wrapped up and a deal signed next month, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday, but there has been no invitation from Chinese officials for further high-level talks in Beijing. The report said Mnuchin hopes President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping will sign an agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in mid-November. Mnuchin also said there was no plan yet on what to do about U.S. tariff hikes on $156 billion of Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December.

Meanwhile, there was optimism in Europe that a Brexit agreement could be reached as soon as Thursday, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that negotiations were “in the final stretch.”

Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1% as the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.2%. South Korea’s etreated 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4%.

Among individual stocks, e-commerce company Rakuten gained in Tokyo trading, along with Sony and SoftBank . Property companies surged in Hong Kong, led by New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development , after new government measures were announced to ease a housing shortage. Tech companies such as Samsung , SK Hynix and LG Electronics fell in South Korea. BHP and Rio Tinto sank in Australia.