BEIJING - Asian markets were mostly higher on Friday after China announced plans that could help boost consumer spending.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.8% by midday, while China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7%. Both had traded lower earlier.
China earlier said it would step up its efforts to boost disposable income and stabilize employment. The National Development and Reform Commission announced those plans during a press briefing.
Hong Kong has also recently taken measures to help avert a recession. On Thursday, the city's government unveiled a stimulus package worth about $19 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.4 billion).
Some companies that trade in Hong Kong and Shanghai also posted strong earnings. Ping An Insurance, China's largest insurer, climbed 3% in Hong Kong after it posted a 68% surge in its first-half net profit. Its Shanghai-traded stock also gained 2.2%.
Tsingtao Brewery, China's second largest beer maker, soared 10% in Shanghai, after its net profit increased more than 25% for the first half of the year. The Hong Kong-traded shares jumped 11.5%. Its bigger rival China Resources Beer, best known for Snow beer, surged 7.2% in Hong Kong after posting a 24% increase in net profit for the first half.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 seesawed between small gains and losses. It last traded 0.1% lower. On Thursday, the index tumbled 2.9%.
Japan's Nikkei was 0.1% higher after a lower open. South Korea's Kospi declined 0.8% as it reopened Friday, following Thursday's public holiday.
US-China trade tensions continue to be a concern.
On Thursday, China said it would "take necessary countermeasures" after the United States announced earlier this month a new 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods. But a spokeswoman from the foreign ministry later calmed investor fears saying China remains hopeful for an eventual trade deal.
Here are some other big moves and talking points at 12:45 p.m. Hong Kong time:
- Tencent, the Chinese social media and gaming giant, continued to fall after it warned of challenges ahead for its business. It was last down 0.9%.
- On Thursday, the Dow rose about 100 points, or 0.4%, recouping some of the heavy losses in the previous session. The S&P 500 ended 0.25% higher. But the Nasdaq, with its many tech companies, dipped 0.1%.
- Alibaba, the Chinese online retailing giant, jumped 3% on Wall Street after it reported sales that beat market estimates. Its revenue surged 42% in the latest quarter.
CNN Business' David Goldma contributed to the story.
The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.