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Asian stocks mixed as China's winning streak ends

Asian stocks mixed as China's winning streak ends

Asian stock markets had mixed results on Wednesday, with the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Composite closing slightly lower as the recent China bounce wavered.

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By Charles Bliss 26.07.2018

Asian stock markets had mixed results on Wednesday, with the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Composite closing slightly lower as the recent China bounce wavered. In contrast, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose by 0.46%, and Hong Kong also tracked gains. 

Mainland China was pretty much even for the day, but a late downturn did see the benchmark Shanghai finish at 2,904.37, a 0.04% drop that brought an end to its recent winning streak. The Shenzhen also saw a tiny contraction, ending 0.07% lower at 1,624.72. 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was the biggest winner, as it was up by more than one percentage point late in the afternoon with gains supported by notable advances in energy and services. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi fell by 0.31% to 2,73,03 as a downturn in major tech stocks wiped out early gains. The S&P/ASX 200 also slipped by 0.29% to 6,247.60 following a slump in consumer and healthcare staples. 

The Nikkei 225 also tracked upward on Wednesday on the back on a strong performance in steel and metal stock sectors. JFE Holdings and Nisshin Steel soared by 2.98% and 2.21% respectively, though Mitsubishi Motors dragged by 2.91% after investors decided to take a profit following the company’s better-than-expected second quarter earnings report. 

Overall, the Nikkei 225 ended the day at 22,614.25, a 0.46% uptick or 103.77-point gain. Excluding Japan, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares climbed 0.36% following afternoon trade. The mixed session in Asia followed a strong overnight showing in the United States, where strong corporate earnings continued to have a positive impact. 

The big news for investors this week continues to be Beijing’s announcement that it will pursue a more “vigorous” fiscal policy as it looks to cope with the effects of its now-long-running trade feud with the US. This prompted gains in the Shanghai Composite and boosted Chinese equities.

“As compared to Beijing’s actions in 2008/9, when it unleashed a 4 trillion yuan spending package, China’s government is now seeking to address growth concerns with a chisel instead of a sledgehammer," J.P. Morgan Asset Management Chief Market Strategist Tai Hui said. "Recent market reaction seems to welcome this development... The announcement could potentially be the catalyst needed to support investor sentiment and prompt them to re-engage in the near term."

US President Donald Trump continues to make moves on the trade front after he outlined plans to provide farmers with up to $12bn in aid to offset any ill effects between the US and trading partners. The first round of tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese imports came into play earlier this month and led to retaliatory measures for the same value of US goods from China.

Trump addressed the latest tariff news directly in a Twitter post on Tuesday. He said: "Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking!"

China’s President Xi Jinping is reluctant to engage in trade negotiations with Washington after intense talks back in May appeared fruitful on the surface but could not stave off tariffs. The move ended any progress that Vice-Premier Liu He believed that he had been making with the US.

“If another deal is rejected, it would also reflect badly on Xi," Trivium China Partner Ether Yin said. "Negotiations are about who has the upper hand. If you've been rejected once and then you approach the other party again, it makes you look weak."

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