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Asian markets mixed after US-China trade deal

/ 12:50 PM December 16, 2019

BEIJING  — Asian stock markets were mixed Monday following a U.S.-Chinese trade deal that disappointed some investors.
Benchmarks in Shanghai and Hong Kong declined, while Tokyo and Seoul were little-changed.

The interim “Phase 1” agreement announced Friday was in line with expectations. The two sides agreed to reduce some punitive tariffs imposed in their fight over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. Beijing agreed to buy more American farm exports.

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Market choppiness reflects concern “the details were disappointing,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2% to 2,960.82 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5% to 27,561.33.

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Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off 5 points at 24,018.52 and Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 2,170.62.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.6% to 6,846.10. Taiwan gained while New Zealand and Singapore retreated.

On Friday, Wall Street ended the week with small gains to record highs for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index.

Technology companies, which rely heavily on China for sales as well as parts, led the gainers Friday, outweighing losses in banks, energy stocks and elsewhere.

The S&P 500 index added less than 0.1% to an all-time high of 3,168.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up less than 0.1% to 28,135.38. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2% to 8,734.88.

China reported unexpected strong November factory activity and spending.

Industrial production rose 6.2% from a year earlier, up from the previous month’s 4.7%. Retail sales growth rose to a five-month high of 8% from October’s 7.2%.

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The U.S.-Chinese deal averted tariff hikes planned for Sunday on imports from both sides, but the impact on economic growth will be limited, said Citigroup economists.

The two sides also agreed to roll back some punitive tariffs, but investors already had factored that into their plans.
“We believe the net effect on China’s growth is largely neutral,” said Citigroup.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $59.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract gained 89 cents on Friday to $60.07. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 22 cents to $65.00 per barrel in London. It rose $1.02 the previous session to $65.22.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 109.38 yen from Friday’s 109.33 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1128 from $1.1120.

GSG
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