Asian shares gained, though off session highs, Wednesday after the U.S. said it would hold off on tariffs of Chinese imports of mobile phones, toys and several other items typically on holiday shopping lists.
Early gains were tempered by data that China’s industrial output in July was worse than expected, rising 4.8% compared to a 6.3% gain in June. Economists had forecast a 5.9% gain, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.88% lost some early gains and was last up 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.54% also gave up early gains, and was up 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.78% edged up 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.68% gained 0.8%, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.96% , Singapore STI, +0.23% and Indonesia advanced. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.03% was last about flat.
Among individual stocks, Screen Holdings 7735, +6.34% and Kobe Steel 5406, +5.03% surged in Tokyo trading. Inpex 1605, +3.51% and SoftBank 9984, +1.86% also rose. In Hong Kong, Apple component suppliers Sunny Optical 2382, +12.15% and AAC 2018, +3.24% soared on the tariff news, and Wharf Real Estate 1997, +2.59% gained as well. Samsung 005930, +1.86% and SK Hynix 000660, +3.22% advanced in South Korea, while Foxconn 2354, +0.49% and Largan Precision 3008, +4.02% gained in Taiwan. In Australia, Rio Tinto RIO, +2.20% and Fortescue Metals FMG, +2.35% rose.
Also boosting investor sentiments were comments from China that the two sides held discussions on trade overnight and would talk again the next two weeks.
China’s central bank on Wednesday set the daily midpoint for the yuan at 7.0312 per dollar, the fifth straight day it was set weaker than the 7 level, but stronger than what analysts had expected.
The benchmark S&P 500 SPX, +1.48% snapped a two-day losing streak and rose 42.57 points, or 1.5%, to 2,926.32. It had been up as much as 2.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.44% gained 372.54 points, or 1.4%, to 26,279.91. The average briefly climbed 519 points. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.95% jumped 152.95 points, or 1.9%, to 8,016.36.
The markets have been in the spin cycle since President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 1 that he would impose 10% tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese imports, which would be on top of 25% tariffs already in place on $250 billion of imports. The threat dashed hopes that a resolution may come soon in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, and investors have grown increasingly concerned that it may drag on through the U.S. elections in 2020.
On Tuesday, The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it would delay the tariffs on some products, including popular consumer goods, until Dec. 15. A few other products were removed altogether, including certain types of fish and baby seats.
But some analysts were cautious.
“Markets are responding with muted relief to the latest round in the trade saga – but nothing has really changed,” said Robert Carnell, chief economist head of research, Asia-Pacific, at ING.
Benchmark U.S. crude CLU19, -1.30% fell 48 cents to $56.62 a barrel. It rose $2.17, or 4%, to $57.10 per barrel Tuesday. Brent crude BRNV19, -1.06% , the international standard, fell 37 cents $60.93.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.25% rose to 106.42 Japanese yen from 105.16 yen.
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