Asia Mostly Higher Despite Trade Tensions

Asia Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Monday but investors remained cautious over heightened U.S.-China tensions in recent weeks.

Markets in Japan and Singapore were shuttered for holiday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng faltered 154.19 points, or 0.6%, to 24,337.43.

Korean indexes prospered as shares of automakers surged. Hyundai Motor added 15.7% while Kia Motors gained 9.7%.

Hyundai shares jumped as the automaker said three new battery electric vehicle models will be launched over the next four years, with more to follow, under its Ioniq brand. Hyundai said it plans to become the world’s third-largest electric vehicle maker by 2025.

Some of the big technology names also advanced. Samsung Electronics shares rose 0.5%, trimming some of its earlier gains of around 1.4%. SK Hynix shares rose 1% while LG Electronics gained 11%.

In Australia, markets took on more strength, with all sectors finishing higher. The heavily weighted financials subindex was up 2.6% as major banks advanced.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7154.

Australia is tackling a fresh wave of coronavirus outbreak in Victoria state, which accounts for the majority of reported cases and deaths in the country. In an effort to slow the spread of infection, the state has imposed strict lockdown measures limiting people’s movements and closed large parts of the economy.

CHINA

The CSI 300 gained 16.99 points, or 0.4%, to 4,724.87.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week issued executive orders that are set to ban American use of WeChat and TikTok, taking effect from the middle of next month.

Following that, the Trump administration said it will impose a fresh round of sanctions on 11 individuals, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for her role in overseeing and "implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes."

Administration officials have also urged Trump to delist Chinese firms that trade on U.S. exchanges and fail to meet U.S. auditing
requirements by Jan. 2022.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi gained 34.71 points, or 1.5%, to 2,386.38

In Taiwan, the Taiex index recovered 65.13 points, or 0.5%, to 12,894

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 regained 36.77 points, or 0.3%, to 11,683.44

In Australia, the ASX 200 recouped 105.36 points, or 1.8%, to 6,110.20.