Asia Mixed Over U.S. Virus Relief Measures

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as uncertainty remains over the state of coronavirus relief stateside.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 hesitated 58.81 points, or 0.3%, to end Wednesday at 22,514.85, after Japanese stocks saw two solid days of gains earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.69 per dollar after touching levels around 106.40 against the greenback earlier in the trading week

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng continued on the march, jumping 155.91 points, or 0.6%, to 25,102.54.

Investor focus on Wednesday was likely on coronavirus deal negotiations stateside, as lawmakers remain divided over issues such as unemployment insurance.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7186 following its bounce from levels below $0.71 earlier this week.

CHINA

The CSI 300 nicked ahead 1.31 points to 4,777.11.

A private survey of China’s services sector in July showed a slower expansion as compared to the previous month. The Caixin/Markit Services Purchasing Manager’s Index came in at 54.1, lower than June’s reading of 58.4. Still, the July figure was above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Meanwhile, senior officials from Beijing and Washington are set to review the phase one trade deal in mid-August. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are expected to participate in the meeting.

The latest development, with the meeting plans first reported by the Wall Street Journal, came as tensions between China and the U.S. have intensified in recent weeks.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index tacked on 16.99 points, or 0.7%, to 2,532.69.

In Korea, the Kospi gained 31.89 points, or 1.4%, to 2,311.86

In Taiwan, the Taiex index bounded 92.38 points, or 0.7%, higher to 12,802.30

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 14 points, or 0.1%, to 11,757.72

In Australia, the ASX 200 docked 36.26 points, or 0.6%, to 6,001.30