Nikkei and Hang Seng dip, while mainland China stocks gain
Asian equities were mixed in early trading Friday, capping an up-and-down week during which investors have struggled to stick to a direction even intraday.
Geopolitical concerns rose after a report that the U.S. and China are unlikely to agree to more than a “framework” for a trade deal later this month, and as the U.K.’s Brexit crisis deepened. Asian chip makers also fell after Nvidia NVDA, -17.05% reported a glut in chips in the secondary market was cutting into sales, and Applied Materials AMAT, +4.29% executives said they expect an industry slowdown.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.57% fell 0.5% amid concerns about trade tensions and demand for electronics parts. Component maker Murata 6981, -4.49% was down 4% while chip company Tokyo Electron 8035, -4.26% dropped 4.6%. Meanwhile, the mining sector was up 2.5% and oil products rose 1.3% as oil prices continued to rebound overnight.
Hong Kong stocks pulled back, with the Hang Seng HSI, +0.31% off 0.4%. Utilities and telecommunications were among the weakest early performers, with China Mobile 0941, +0.52% and HK & China Gas 0003, -1.17% down more than 1%. Property shares also struggled.
Chinese stock benchmarks rose, with the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.41% up 0.7% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.84% 1% higher. Preschool-related stocks slumped as the government unexpectedly banned the listing of kindergartens. Meanwhile, insurance PICC Group popped the 44% daily limit in its first day of trading in Shanghai; its Hong Kong-listed shares 1339, -1.41% were off more than 1%.
South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.21% pared early gains, but was still up 0.1%, with chip maker SK Hynix 000660, -2.37% down 1% and Samsung 005930, -0.56% declining 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, -0.30% slipped 0.3% as Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -2.16% fell 2%, while Singapore’s Strait Times Index STI, +0.87% rose nearly 1%.
Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, -0.09% edged up 0.1% as energy stocks rose following overnight gains in oil prices. New Zealand’s stock benchmark NZ50GR, -0.18% was down slightly.