Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed as trade hopes rise; Shenzhen slips more than 2%

Key Points
  • Asia stocks were mixed on Thursday.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday that a deal between the U.S. and China could come sooner "than you think."
  • Trump also said the U.S. and Japan had reached an initial trade agreement.

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Thursday amid hopes that the U.S. and China could strike a deal soon.

U.S. President Donald Trump said at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday that a deal between the U.S. and China could come sooner "than you think." The two largest economies of the world have attempted to find a deal to end their protracted trade dispute which has lasted for more than a year and rattled financial markets globally.

Mainland Chinese shares dropped on the day, with the Shenzhen component slipping 2.13% to 9,464.84 and the Shenzhen composite falling 2.505% to approximately 1,597.72. The Shanghai composite slipped 0.89% to about 2,929.09.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.21%, as of its final hour of trading, as shares of Chinese tech behemoth Tencent added 0.97%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.13% to close at 22,048.24 shares of index heavyweight and robot maker Fanuc jumped 2.44%. The Topix ended its trading day 0.2% higher at 1,623.27, after earlier touching levels not seen since December 2018. The moves came after Trump said Wednesday that Washington and Tokyo had reached an initial trade agreement.

Shares of Japanese automakers also jumped after the chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said trade negotiations between Tokyo and Washington were headed in the direction of avoiding auto tariffs. Toyota gained 1.14% while Honda added 1.35% and Subaru surged 2.19%.

South Korea's Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,074.52 as chipmaker SK Hynix's stock jumped 1.71%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.49% to end its trading day at 6,677.60.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.06% higher.

Amid the positive trade sentiment, one strategist told CNBC on Thursday: "The damage ... to some degree, has been done ... generically in the trade war and the trade cycle."

"Global trade volumes year-on-year, have (in) three consecutive months year-on-year, declined. That's the first time since the global financial crisis, Paul Kitney, chief equity strategist of Asia Pacific research at Daiwa Capital Markets, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. "It's huge news, just as important as the inverted yield curve in the United States, in my opinion."

"That slowdown in the global tradable goods market is negative for the big tradeable goods exporters. Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China," he added.

Meanwhile, Singapore's industrial production data for August fell much more than expected. Manufacturing output dropped 8% in August as compared to a year ago. That compared against expectations of a 0.7% contraction in a Reuters survey, and a revised 0.1% fall in July.

The ongoing tariff fight between the U.S. and China has taken a toll on the trade-dependent island nation's economy, with both the Singapore government and economists cutting their GDP growth forecast for 2019.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 162.94 points higher to 26,970.71. The S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.6% higher at 2,984.87 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to close at 8,077.38.

The moves upward on Wall Street came as the positive trade sentiment overshadowed concerns over an impeachment inquiry into Trump that was announced by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.941 after touching an earlier high of 98.974.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.63 against the dollar after seeing an earlier low of 107.79, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6752 after declining from levels around $0.68 yesterday.

Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.29% to $62.21 per barrel while U.S. crude futures slipped 0.32% to $56.31 per barrel.

— Reuters and CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report