Asian stocks rose Tuesday following a listless day on Wall Street as investors looked ahead to U.S.-Chinese trade talks.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.6 percent to 20,871.36 and the Shanghai Composite Exchange added 0.6 percent to 2,669.66. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 7 points higher at 28,151.38 and Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 2,192.48. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.3 percent to 6,079.10 and India’s Sensex was unchanged at 36,391.38. New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand rose while Singapore declined.
WALL STREET: Gains for industrial companies, banks and energy stocks outweighed losses elsewhere. Small-company stocks fared better as investors shifted focus away from the tail end of a strong corporate earnings season to U.S.-Chinese trade talks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent to 25,053.11. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 2,709.80. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1 percent to 7,307.90.
U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin leads a delegation to Beijing on Thursday for talks aimed at resolving a tariff war over American complaints about Chinese technology ambitions. The dispute threatens to chill global economic growth. The talks are the last scheduled high-level meeting before an agreement by both sides to suspend further punitive action against each other’s goods expires March 1.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Traders were watching negotiations in Washington aimed at averting another government shutdown. Democrats and the GOP disagree over how much to spend on President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. A Friday midnight deadline is looming to prevent a second partial government shutdown.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “U.S. equities struggled to establish clear direction as concerns about progress of trade talk and U.S. government shutdown looms in the background,” said Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank in a report. “Investor sentiment remains cautious despite report suggesting that President Trump’s advisers are discussing a potential summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month.”
GLOBAL ECONOMY: Fears of a global slowdown were given additional fuel from a report showing Britain’s economy had its slowest economic growth since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Both Europe overall and China are contending with slower growth.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 33 cents to $52.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 31 cents on Monday to close at $52.41. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 43 cents in London to $61.94. It shed 59 cents the previous session to $61.51.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 110.47 yen from Monday’s 110.36 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1283 from $1.1279.