Stocks mixed as uncertainty reigns in US-China trade talks
NEW YORK, NY – Shares were mixed in Asia on Tuesday as investors awaited cues on trade talks between China and the U.S.
The next hints on progress in the negotiations between Beijing and Washington could come later in the day, when Trump is scheduled to give a speech on trade and economic policy at the Economic Club of New York.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1% to 23,362.24, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.1% to 26,947.66. South Korea's Kospi edged 0.2% higher to 2,127.35.
The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.4% to 2,897.23 while Australia's S&P ASX/200 shed 0.5% 6,740.60. Shares rose in Taiwan, Bangkok and Singapore but fell in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
"With so much riding in Asia on an interim trade deal to get the region's biggest customer, China, importing again; it is unsurprising that the region appears to be sitting on its hands today," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
But he noted that continued political chaos in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng fell 2.6% on Monday, is also weighing on sentiment.
Protesters disrupted the morning commute on Tuesday after an especially violent day in the Chinese city that has been wracked by anti-government protests for more than five months.
On Monday, a police officer drew his gun during a struggle with protesters, shooting one in the abdomen. In another neighborhood, a person was set on fire after an apparent argument. The Hong Kong hospital authority said both were in critical condition. Video of another incident showed a policeman on a motorcycle riding through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them.
In comments suggesting harsher legal and police measures may be planned, Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam pledged to "spare no effort" to halt the protests.
On the Chinese mainland, an industry group reported late Monday that China's auto sales fell 5.8% from a year earlier in October as demand for electric cars plunged, an industry group reported Monday, extending a painful squeeze in the global industry's biggest market.
The Chinese auto market is on track to contract for second year, dragged down by weak demand in the face of cooling economic growth and a tariff war with Washington.
Data on bank lending also disappointed, with new lending in October logging the lowest level since December 2017, at 661.3 billion yuan ($94.4 billion).
Overnight, U.S. stocks mostly fell after President Donald Trump said over the weekend that reports about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs were "incorrect," only two days after a Chinese official said both sides agreed to rollbacks if talks progress.
Stocks dropped as soon as trading began Monday, and the S&P 500 lost as much as 0.6% from its record level, though indexes pared their losses as the day progressed.
The S&P 500 lost 0.2% to 3,087.01 and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%, to 8,464.28.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was an outlier and eked out another record, rising less than 0.1% to 27,691.49.
A major factor in the advance was Boeing, whose shares soared 4.5% after the aircraft maker said it hopes to resume deliveries of its 737 Max jet next month.
Bond markets were closed in observance of Veterans Day.
Low interest rates have helped drive the stock market's recent rally. On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to give testimony to Congress about the economy. Most investors expect the Fed to keep interest rates on hold for now after cutting them three times since the summer.
Later this week, the Labor Department will also give updates on inflation at both the consumer and wholesale levels. On Friday, economists expect a government report to show that retail sales returned to growth in October. That would suggest robust consumer spending is helping to compensate for weaker manufacturing due to the trade war.
Earnings season is close to complete, and nearly 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their profits for the July-through-September quarter, according to FactSet. Results have been weak due in part to the slowing global economy, with earnings per share down 2.4% from a year earlier, not as bad as analysts had forecast.
Benchmark crude oil fell 6 cents to $56.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 38 cents to settle at $56.86 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 2 cents to $62.16. It fell 33 cents to $62.18 a barrel in London.
The dollar rose to 109.13 Japanese yen from 109.06 yen on Monday. The euro was unchanged at $1.1034.
AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Damian J. Troise contributed.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.