Asian markets mostly gain as investors digest US-China trade news

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Asian shares mostly closed higher on Friday, shrugging off the soggy close seen on Wall Street as investors digested the latest over U.S.-China trade developments.

Japanese markets closed higher after the release of core consumer price index data, which slightly missed expectations. The Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent, or 91.99 points, to finish at 22,930.36 and the broader Topix edged higher by 0.38 percent. The gains came as the yen extended losses against the dollar, trading at 110.85 to the greenback at 2:53 p.m. HK/SIN.

Among sectors, the Topix mining and oil subindexes led the climb higher, with insurers and automakers also rising for the most part.

Elsewhere, the Kospi tacked on 0.5 percent to end at 2,460.65 as Samsung Electronics clung to gains of 0.2 percent. Shipbuilders and steelmakers were also higher.

Greater China markets were in positive territory. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.61 percent by 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN, with mainland stock indexes also gaining. The Shanghai composite closed sharply higher, rising 1.23 percent to 3,193.05, and the Shenzhen composite added 0.33 percent.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed down 0.11 percent at 6,087.40 as gains in the health care and energy subindexes were offset by declines in the materials and financials sectors.

Developments in the second round of U.S.-China trade talks in Washington were in focus following news that China had announced it was rolling back an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports. Earlier, Beijing had offered a proposal to reduce its trade deficit with the U.S. by $200 billion, Reuters reported, but China’s foreign ministry later said that was not true.

President Donald Trump had said on Thursday that he doubted the high-level bilateral trade negotiations would be successful.

Several markets in the region had dipped into negative territory earlier in the day amid jitters over trade friction. “Market[s] … took concerns over renewed trade tension and its potential disruption to the current equity rally seen over the last few days,” analysts from OCBC Bank said in a morning note.

The overall move higher in Asia came on the back of slight declines seen stateside as investors digested news on ongoing U.S.-China negotiations and higher interest rates.

Although things could be a little more unpredictable and prone to volatility in the short-term amid trade concerns, fundamentals remained strong for Asian markets, said Sukumar Rajah, director of portfolio management at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity.

The move higher in U.S. bond yields was also in focus, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note at 3.1 percent, after earlier touching its highest level since August 2008. Yields on the two-year and five-year Treasury notes, as well as the 30-year Treasury bond, touched multi-year highs overnight.

Of note, the Indonesian rupiah declined to a two and a half year low in the session despite the country’s central bank raising interest rates on Thursday, a move that had been expected by most economists polled by Reuters. Bank Indonesia said on Friday that it was “in the market to smoothen rupiah volatility,” Reuters reported.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures edged up by 0.34 percent to trade at $79.57 per barrel after rising as high as $80.50 per barrel, its highest since November 2014, in the last session. Meanwhile, U.S. crude futures added 0.25 percent to trade at $71.67.

In individual movers, Samsung Biologics rose 2.64 percent after the South Korean company said Biogen, a U.S. biotechnology firm, would exercise its call option to increase its stake in Samsung Bioepis. Biogen will exercise the option by June 29.

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