Asia Mixed as Trade Pressure Won’t Let Up


Most Asian markets closed mixed on the last day of the trading week amid a backdrop of global trade-related developments and political news out of Washington.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 127.44 points, or 0.6%, to 21,676.51. Despite those losses, the benchmark finished the week up 1%.

Automakers and technology names were mostly lower, while manufacturing names closed in negative territory, with Fanuc down 1.6%.

The U.S. dollar slipped against the safe-haven yen on poorer risk sentiment. The greenback traded at 105.88 late in the afternoon after touching as high as 106.38 earlier in the session.

The Hang Seng Index settled 39.13 points, or 0.1%, to 31,501.97

China Unicom advanced 1.7% ahead of the market close, but those gains were unable to lift the broader index as property names and the energy sector drove losses.

In Korea, Samsung Electronics pared steeper losses seen earlier to close lower by 0.8%. Financials ended higher, while the manufacturing and technology sectors were mixed.

Australian stocks were stronger, with all sectors gaining except financials and gold producers.

Gains were led by the telecommunications sector and the consumer staples subindex, which popped 2.6%. Those gains came as Wesfarmers jumped 6.4% following news it would be spinning off its Coles supermarket business.

In corporate news, Samsung's latest Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphone models will be available in several markets on Friday after their initial launch in February.

Meanwhile, shares of Leshi Internet and Information Technology plunged by the daily limit of 10% after its chairman left the company. Leshi, the listed unit of embattled tech company LeEco, is down around 60% this year.

CHINA

The CSI 300 slumped 39.74 points, or 1%, to 4,056.24, with technology, consumer and materials among the worst-performing sectors.

Also of note, Alibaba Group, currently listed in New York, is looking to list in China, according to the Wall Street Journal. The e-commerce giant told the media it would consider a listing on the mainland if regulation allowed for it.

Chinese depository receipts could be introduced in China "very soon," Reuters reported, citing state-run financial newspaper Shanghai Securities News. The CDRs would give mainland investors a path to some companies listed outside China

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex recovered 9.25 points, or 0.1%, to 11,027.70

In Korea, the Kospi eked up 1.59 points to 2,493.97

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 5.59 points, or 0.2%, to 3,512.14

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 9.76 points, or 0.1%, to 8,477.08

The ASX 200 regained 28.57 points, or 0.5%, to 5,949.42