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Asia stocks edge up despite trade war rhetoric

Apr 04 2018 08:18

Hong Kong - Asia stocks staged a modest bounce-back on Wednesday after recent market jitters but gains were tepid as investors eyed a heating-up of trade rhetoric between the world's two biggest economies.

Tokyo was the top gainer in the region, rising 0.5% at the open driven both by a bullish session on Wall Street and a weaker yen, which benefits exporters.

However, the gains quickly evaporated in Japan, and markets in Australia and South Korea were marginally in the red as traders digested the latest volley in a brewing trade war.

The United States published a list of Chinese imports worth around $50bn that could be targeted by tariffs - a significant escalation in the confrontation with Beijing.

China responded sharply, saying it was ready to retaliate against what it described as a "unilateralistic and protectionist" move that serves neither country's interests.

"Trade war is still in play," noted Stephen Innes, an analyst at Oanda Securities, saying rhetoric between China and the US could rise further.

Chinese stocks opened modestly higher as consumer liquor shares led the gains, with Shanghai climbing 0.3%.

It followed a volatile session on Wall Street, where US stocks finished the trading day on Tuesday with a strong rally.

The Dow Jones Index closed up 1.7% and the broad-based S&P 500 was up 1.3%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq also finished in the green, up 1.0%, mainly on bargain-hunting after suffering a pummelling in recent days.

Large technology companies that have been slumping all enjoyed gains, including Facebook, Google parent Alphabet and Intel.

Amazon also pushed 1.5% higher as investors welcomed headlines that suggested President Donald Trump did not plan to follow up a series of irate tweets with concrete action against the company.

Round-up

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Up 0.5% at 21 389.27 (open)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Up 0.2% at 30 244.22
Shanghai - Composite: Up 0.3% at 3 147.05
Dollar/yen: Down at ¥106.56 from ¥106.60 at 21:00 GMT
Euro/dollar: Up at $1.2275  from $1.2271 at 21:00 GMT
Pound/dollar: Up at $1.4076 from $1.4057 at 21:00 GMT
Oil - Brent North Sea: Down 22 cents at $67.90 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: Down 21 cents at $63.30 per barrel
New York - Dow: Up 1.7% at 24 033.36 (close)
London - FTSE 100: Down 0.4% at 7 030.46 points (close)

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equities  |  markets  |  asian markets
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