Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday, as optimism after British lawmakers rejected a no-deal Brexit was tempered by poor economic data from China and a warning from President Donald Trump that the U.S. may walk away from trade talks with China.
Trump spoke about China on Wednesday in Washington, and said that while he was optimistic a deal will be reached, he may walk if terms are not to his liking. “We’re making great deals, or we’re not going to make them at all. We’re going to go (with) tariffs,” Trump said.
On Thursday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said industrial output slowed more than expected in January and February, suggesting China’s economy is slowing down. Value-added industrial output in China rose 5.3% in the January-to-February period from the year before, compared to 5.7% a year ago and economists’ projections of 5.5%. Thursday’s reading was the slowest pace of growth in 17 years.
That sent stocks falling in mainland China. After early gains, the Shanghai Composite
was last down 0.9% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite
was off more than 2%. Stocks in Hong Kong
gave up early gains as well, and were last up only about 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei
was up 0.6%, while South Korea’s Kospi
was about flat. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan
were slightly lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
was up about 0.1%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank
jumped in Tokyo trading after a report that it may lead a $1 billion investment in Uber Technologies’ self-driving car unit. E-commers company Rakuten
and Kobe Steel
also rose. Oil producer CNOOC
advanced in Hong Kong, while Apple
and Sunny Optical
sank. LG Electronics
rose in South Korea while Hyundai Motor
fell. Mining and oil stocks, such as Rio Tinto
and Beach Energy
, rose in Australia.
On Wall Street, stocks secured their third straight gain on Wednesday after health care and technology companies rose. Boeing
dipped briefly, but ultimately finished slightly higher, as the U.S. joined much of the world in grounding its 737 Max 8 aircraft after a fatal crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.
The broad S&P 500 index
gained 0.7% to 2,810.92. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
added 0.6% to 25,702.89 and the Nasdaq composite
climbed 0.7% to 7,643.41.
Oil prices advanced after a weekly U.S Energy Information Administration report showed that crude stockpiles fell by 3.9 million barrels from the previous week. This marked the second decline in three weeks.
Benchmark U.S. crude
rose 10 cents to $58.36 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.39 to settle at $58.26 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, rose 17 cents to $67.72 per barrel. It picked up 88 cents to close at $67.55 per barrel in London.
strengthened to 111.59 yen from 111.17 yen late Wednesday.
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