Stocks pull pack in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Asian markets retreated Wednesday, as the afterglow of last weekend’s trade-truce announcement gave way to uncertainty that a deal will actually be made anytime soon.
Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser, said Tuesday that talks between the U.S. and China were headed in a “very good direction,” but a lack of concrete details and both sides’ hardened positions make the chances for a trade deal little better than they were before Trump’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping. While Trump said Monday that some talks had “already begun,” high-level negotiations have not been held since early May, and none are scheduled.
Tuesday night, Trump said he intends to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to two vacant spots on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. That could give Trump more allies in his efforts to persuade the Fed to cut interest rates; Shelton has publicly argued for cutting rates, and Waller has been a deputy to St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who pushed for a rate cut at the Fed’s last meeting.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.62% closed down 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.30% edged down 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.94% fell 0.8%, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -1.20% fell 1.1%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -1.29% dropped 1.2%, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -1.12% , Singapore STI, -0.30% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.56% all declined. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.51% was one of the region’s outliers, rising 0.4%.
Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing 9983, +2.50% gained in Tokyo trading, while SoftBank 9984, -1.32% and Inpex 1605, -2.50% fell. In Hong Kong, PetroChina 857, -2.30% and Tencent 700, -1.21% declined. Samsung 005930, -1.95% and SK Hynix 066570, -1.42% dropped in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -2.61% dropped in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, -5.88% and Oil Search OSH, -2.58% slid in Australia as oil prices dropped to a two-week low.
Trading was subdued ahead of the Independence Day holiday Thursday in the U.S., where markets will close early on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks shook off an early wobble to eke out small gains Tuesday, nudging the S&P 500 index to an all-time high for the second straight day.
Traders are waiting to see what will come from the latest truce in the U.S.-China trade war. They’re also looking ahead to a key government jobs report due out Friday, among other potential market-moving developments in the next few weeks.
The S&P 500 SPX, +0.29% rose 0.3% to 2,973.01, the benchmark index’s seventh record high this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.26% gained 0.3% to 26,786.68. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.22% added 0.2% to 8,109.09.
In commodities trading, benchmark crude oil CLQ19, +0.34% gained 18 cents to $56.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $2.84 to settle at $56.25 a barrel.
Brent crude BRNU19, +0.24% , the international standard, added 16 cents to $62.55 per barrel. It lost $2.66 to close at $62.40 a barrel on Tuesday.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.22% fell to 107.65 Japanese yen from 108.90 yen on Tuesday.