Top Stories
Top Stories
Asia Markets

Asian stocks mixed as US-China trade talks continue

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia traded mixed on Tuesday as investors waited for developments from the second day of U.S.-China trade talks. 
  • A spokesman from China's foreign ministry said on Monday that Beijing is willing to resolve its trade disputes with Washington on an equal footing.
  • Elsewhere, major tech names in South Korea — Samsung Electronics and LG — issued lower-than-expected guidance on earnings. 

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Tuesday as investors waited for developments from the second day of U.S.-China trade talks.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.82 percent to close at 20,204.04 while the Topix index gained 0.39 percent to finish its trading day at 1,518.43.

Shares of Japanese car-maker Nissan recovered from their earlier losses to gain 0.21 percent amid broadly positive momentum in the auto sector. The company's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn denied wrongdoing in his first public appearance in seven weeks at a Tokyo court, following his arrest in November last year on allegations of financial misconduct.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.58 percent to close at 2,025.27. Shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics slipped 1.68 percent after the company announced estimated fourth quarter earnings which fell far short of analyst expectations.

On the back of Samsung's announcement, LG Electronics also saw its shares tumble 3.58 percent after it cautioned that its profits likely fell 80 percent in the fourth quarter.

Chipmaker SK Hynix, on the other hand, saw gains of 0.85 percent. The stock had earlier risen as high as 3 percent during the trading day.

The in Australia rose 0.69 percent to close at 5,722.4, with almost all sectors higher.

The heavily-weighted financial subindex advanced 0.77 percent as shares of the country's so-called Big Four banks mostly saw gains; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.1 percent, Westpac advanced 1.19 percent and National Australia Bank gained 0.91 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, on the other hand, slipped 0.14 percent.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

US-China trade talks continue

The mainland Chinese markets fell on Tuesday.

The Shanghai composite declined by 0.26 percent to close at 2,526.46 while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.117 percent to finish at about 1,299.89. The Shenzhen component also fell 0.116 percent to close at 7,391.65.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was largely flat during its final hour of trading. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese automaker Geely plummeted almost 11 percent after the company predicted flat sales for 2019.

Investors were on the lookout for developments on the second day of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

China said on Monday that it is willing to resolve its trade disputes with the U.S. on an equal footing, according to Lu Kang, spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry.

One economist expressed caution over the talks.

"It still looks like we're talking more about superficialities ... than some of the fundamental issues," Simon Baptist, global chief economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday morning.

"What really matters is these issues over market access, that's the thing the U.S. firms care about. Having a level playing field when they're competing in China ... against the (state-owned enterprises) and others. And then also, the issues around intellectual property and technology transfer," Baptist said.

"The EIU is still not optimistic about both sides coming to a substantive deal by 1st March," said another EIU analyst, Nick Marro, said in a note. "China would need to significantly re-calibrate its industrial policies to fully meet the US trade team's demands. The limited policy movement that we've seen so far suggests that a game-changing deal remains unlikely."

Over in the U.S., Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday that U.S. tariffs have placed pressure on China's economy and ability to create jobs to avert social unrest.

The U.S. and China slapped a series of punitive tariffs on each other's goods last year, sparking concerns over a global economic slowdown.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.887 after seeing an earlier low of 95.682.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.03 after seeing highs around the 108 handle yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7124 after touching an earlier high of $0.7149.

— Reuters contributed to this report.