Asia Markets

Stocks in Asia mixed as investors await ECB interest rate decision; Apple suppliers mostly jump

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia were mixed on Wednesday.
  • China's Ministry of Finance announced Wednesday that 16 American products will be exempt from additional tariffs.
  • Shares of Apple suppliers in the region mostly traded higher on Wednesday following the unveiling of the Cupertino-based tech giant's latest products on Tuesday.

Shares in Asia were mixed on Wednesday as investors awaited the European central bank's interest rate decision later in the week.

Mainland Chinese shares were lower on the day, with the Shenzhen component declining 0.935% to about 1,671.54 and the Shenzhen composite down 1.12% to 9,853.72. The Shanghai composite slipped 0.41% to around 3,008.81. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.51%, as of its final hour of trading.

Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.96% to close at 21,597.76 while the Topix index gained 1.65% on the day to 1,583.66. South Korea's Kospi closed 0.84% higher at 2,049.20. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.36% to end its trading day at 6,638.00.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.64%.

On the trade front, China's Ministry of Finance announced that 16 American products will be exempted from additional tariffs. On Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported that China has offered to increase U.S. agricultural purchases in exchange for a delay in tariffs and easing of a supply ban against telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies.

Apple suppliers mostly gain

Meanwhile, shares of Apple suppliers in Asia mostly rose on Wednesday following the unveiling of the Cupertino-based tech giant's latest products on Tuesday.

Japanese component supplier Murata Manufacturing rose 2.26% and Sharp jumped 3.92%, while South Korea's LG Display added 3.86% and Largan Precision in Taiwan gained 3.31%. Hong Kong-listed AAC Technologies was also up 1.28%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese listed suppliers Luxshare and Goertek, however, fell 3.56% and 2.97% respectively.

ECB rate decision

Investors also await the European Central Bank's decision on interest rates on Thursday.

"The European Central Bank Governing Council is likely to cement a dovish path until at least the end of 2020, when they meet on Thursday," analysts from DBS Group Research wrote in a note.

"Markets have run ahead of themselves. Any sign that the ECB has fallen short of expectations might result in short-term unwinding in positions," they warned.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 98.383 after trading below 98.4 for much of this week.

The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 107.70 against the dollar following its weakening from levels around 106.8 earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6867 after rising from levels below $0.672 last week.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours following a slip on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he fired national security advisor John Bolton, viewed as a hawk on Iran and North Korea.

International benchmark Brent crude futures added 0.77% to $62.86 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures gained 0.78% to $57.85 per barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Yun Li contributed to this report.