Asian markets mixed after U.S. elevates China from currency manipulator

Asian markets mixed after U.S. elevates China from currency manipulator

Investors optimistic ahead of signing of ‘phase one’ trade deal

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Tuesday, after the U.S. said China is no longer a currency manipulator ahead of the signing of a “phase one” trade agreement this week.

The U.S. Treasury Department stepped back from the decision it made last year, saying in a statement that it “has determined that China should no longer be designated as a currency manipulator at this time.”

The U.S. and China are expected to sign a “phase one” trade deal Wednesday in Washington, which the Treasury Department said will include enforceable commitments by China to refrain from currency devaluation and not target its exchange rate for competitive purposes.

“Investors’ unquenchable appetite for stocks is in hyperdrive, triggered by a further thawing in U.S.-China trade tension,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist for AxiTrader, wrote in a note.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.73% gained 0.7% as traders returned from a holiday Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.24% gave up early gains and was last down about 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.28% was about flat and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.23% dipped slightly after data showed China’s exports rose 5% in 2019 on yuan terms, the slowest growth in three years. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.43% rose 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.55% , Singapore STI, +0.60% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.26% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.46% were mostly positive. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.85% advanced 0.7%.

Among individual stocks, Sony 6758, +2.46% Fast Retailing 9983, +2.18% and SoftBank 9984, +3.51% advanced in Tokyo trading, while Nissan 7201, -2.97% sank. In Hong Kong, casino operators Galaxy Entertainment 27, +2.29% and Sands China 1928, +3.14% rose, while AAC 2018, -4.44% and Geely Automobile 175, -1.84% fell. LG Electronics 066570, +2.55% and SK Hynix 000660, +0.00% advanced in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +1.32% gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, +1.87% and Rio Tinto RIO, +1.85% rose in Australia.

On Monday, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.70% rose 22.78 points, or 0.7%, to 3,288.13. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.04% climbed 95.07 points, or 1%, to 9,273.93, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.29% gained 83.28 points, or 0.3%, to 28,907.05.

Benchmark crude oil CLG20, +0.53% rose 13 cents to $58.21 a barrel, after falling 96 cents to $58.08 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil BRNH20, +0.65% , the international standard, rose 19 cents to $64.39 a barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.07% rose to 110.09 Japanese yen from 109.89 yen on Monday.

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