Asia Markets

Most Asian markets pop after US stocks cheer midterm elections, but mainland China slips

Key Points
  • Stocks in Japan, South Korea and Australia were up on the day.
  • The mainland China markets, however, ended the trading day lower after seeing gains earlier during the session.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was largely flat in afternoon trade.

Stocks in Asia were mainly higher, with the exception of mainland China, after a stateside rally saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 record their best post-midterm elections rally since 1982.

The mainland China markets posted losses for the trading day seeing morning gains. The Shanghai composite fell 0.22 percent to close at about 2,635.63 while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.477 percent to finish at around 1,333.98.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, meanwhile, was largely flat in afternoon trade.

China earlier in the day revealed its October data on imports and exports, which both smashed analyst expectations.

Exports denominated in dollars rose 15.6 percent from a year ago in October, exceeding an expected 11 percent growth economists polled by Reuters had forecast. Dollar-denominated imports, meanwhile, rose 21.4 percent from a year ago, topping an expected 14 percent.

The country's General Administration of Customs said the overall trade surplus was $34.01 billion for October, lower than the $35 billion economists had expected.

China's markets are being closely watched by investors following the U.S. midterm election results — even though experts predicted the outcome would have little impact on the two countries' ongoing trade war.

Looking to other major Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.82 percent to close at 22,486.92 while the Topix index saw gains of 1.74 percent at 1,681.25 by the closing bell. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.67 percent to close at 2,092.63.

In Australia, the was 0.53 percent higher to close at 5,928.2, with most sectors seeing gains as energy stocks advanced 0.49 percent.

Shares of the largest gas pipeline company Down Under, APA Group, bucked the overall positive trend and fell 9.88 percent after the country's treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced his intention on Wednesday to block a takeover bid from Hong Kong's CK Infrastructure.

Frydenberg said in a media release on Wednesday that he had made his decision "on the grounds that it would result in an undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single company group in our most significant gas transmission business."

Following the setback, shares of CK Infrastructure saw losses of 0.26 percent during the afternoon session in Hong Kong.

Wall Street sees gains post-midterms

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 545 points to close at 26,180.30 while the gained around 2.12 percent to finish the trading day at 2,813.89. The Nasdaq Composite also advanced 2.64 percent at about 7,570.75.

The major averages had earlier hit their session highs after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he is willing to work with Democrats on policy initiatives that would help the economy keep growing.

Democrats won control of the House of Representatives while Republicans retained their hold on the Senate, as the U.S. midterm election's outcome split Congress.

Investors expect Trump's pro-business policies to continue, while some expressed optimism about Congress providing a larger check on Trump's more disruptive market actions. Historically, equity markets see strong returns when Congress is divided.

"With trade tensions to the fore over recent months and risk currencies in the spotlight, the US Mid-Terms were being seen through the prism of whether the outcome might embolden the President to go harder on trade or in effect if the elections would clip his wings," David de Garis, a director and senior economist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

"With the Democrats gaining control over the House, the latter scenario now might be a little more likely," de Garis said.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.269 after yesterday's rally from the 95.7 handle.

The Japanese yen was at 113.69 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 113 in the previous session while the Australian dollar traded at $0.7287 following gains from around the $0.722 handle yesterday.

Oil prices see a partial recovery

Oil prices had slipped overnight, but they made a partial recovery in the current session. U.S. crude futures were 0.26 percent higher at $61.83 per barrel after earlier seeing their lowest closing price since mid-March. The global benchmark Brent crude futures reversed course to rise 0.22 percent at $72.23 per barrel.

The moves in the oil markets came on the back of U.S. oil production jumping to a record 11.6 million barrels a day in the previous week — with crude output stateside now surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia.

— CNBC's Huileng Tan and Fred Imbert, along with Reuters, contributed to this report.