UPDATE: Asian markets mixed as China rolls out new benchmark lending rate
By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Nikkei edges up but stocks in Hong Kong, Shanghai give up early gains
Asian markets were mixed in quiet trading early Tuesday, after China's central bank announced its new benchmark lending rate.
The People's Bank of China set the one-year Loan Prime Rate at 4.25%, down from 4.31% previously, according to the Wall Street Journal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-central-bank-sets-lower-benchmark-rate-2019-08-19). The PBoC announced the new benchmark mechanism over the weekend, which essentially serves the function of a rate cut.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surrendered early gains and was last down 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite also gave up early gains and was last about flat. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4% while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia were mixed. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.7% as minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's July meeting revealed central bankers would consider further monetary easing if necessary.
Among individual stocks, electronics maker Screen Holdings (7735.TO) gained in Tokyo trading, while convenience-store chain FamilyMart (8028.TO) fell, following strong gains Monday. In Hong Kong, Apple component makers AAC (2018.HK) and Sunny Optical (2382.HK) rose, while Wharf Real Estate (1997.HK) and other developers' stocks declined. Auto makers Hyundai Motor (005380.SE) and Kia (000270.SE) sank in South Korea, while Apple supplier Largan Precision (3008.TW) advanced in Taiwan. Beach Energy (BPT.AU) soared in Australia after blowing away fiscal-year earnings expectations (https://www.australianmining.com.au/oil-gas/news-oil-gas/beach-energy-optimistic-about-growth/).
On Monday, Wall Street rallied on the U.S. decision to give Chinese telecom giant Huawei another 90 days to buy equipment from American suppliers.
That decision appeared to inspire a buying mood among investors eager for any signs of progress in the trade war between the U.S. and China.
The S&P 500 climbed 34.97 points, or 1.2%, to 2,923.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 249.78 points, or 1%, to 26,135.79. The index briefly gained 336 points. The Nasdaq , which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, rose 106.82 points, or 1.3%, to 8,002.81.
Recently investors have been trying to determine whether a recession is on the horizon in the U.S. A key concern is that the escalating and costly trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies will hamper growth around the globe.
Earlier this month, Trump announced plans to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from early rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China.
Huawei has become part of the trade war, with the White House showing a willingness to use sanctions against the company as a bargaining chip. The U.S. government blacklisted Huawei in May, deeming it a national security risk, meaning U.S. firms aren't allowed to sell the company technology without government approval.
"While it is not unexpected, the extension for the easing of Huawei sanctions had added to the relief for markets at the start of the week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist for IG in Singapore.
Benchmark crude oil inched down 1 cent to $56.13 a barrel. Brent crude , the international standard, rose 4 cents to $59.78 a barrel.
The dollar rose to 106.59 yen from 106.36 yen Monday.
-Marketwatch; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 19, 2019 23:47 ET (03:47 GMT)
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