Asian shares rise on Wall Street gains amid trade fric­tion

The Freeman - - BUSINESS -

TOKYO— Asian shares were mostly higher Fri­day af­ter gains on Wall Street but in­vestors con­tin­ued to watch for news about U.S.-China trade fric­tion.

KEEP­ING SCORE: Japan’s bench­mark Nikkei 225 added 0.1 per­cent to 21,524.02, and Aus­tralia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 per­cent to 5,685.50 in early trad­ing. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 per­cent to 2,070.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up less than 0.1 per­cent to 26,164.46, while the Shang­hai Com­pos­ite was also up less than 0.1 per­cent at 2,606.52. Shares were also higher in In­done­sia and Taiwan.

AN­A­LYST’S TAKE: “Clouded with much uncer­tainty, mar­kets will likely re­main jit­tery and may strug­gle to hold on to the gains,” says Jay­den Loh, a Trader at IG in Sin­ga­pore.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 in­dex fell 4.11 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,695.95. The bench­mark in­dex had been down as much as 2.9 per­cent. The Dow dropped 79.40 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 24,947.67. The av­er­age briefly slumped as much as 784 points. The tech­nol­ogy-heavy Nas­daq com­pos­ite re­versed an early loss to fin­ish with a gain, adding 29.83 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 7,188.26. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small-com­pany stocks gave up 3.34 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 1,477.41. U.S. stock and bond trad­ing were closed Wed­nes­day be­cause of a na­tional day of mourn­ing for Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

FED WATCH: Last week, stocks jumped af­ter Fed Chair­man Jerome Pow­ell in­di­cated the cen­tral bank might con­sider a pause in rate hikes next year while it gauges the im­pact of its credit tight­en­ing pro­gram. The Fed has raised rates three times this year and is ex­pected to boost rates for a fourth time at its Dec. 18-19 meet­ing of pol­i­cy­mak­ers. At the same time, there has been grow­ing ev­i­dence that global eco­nomic growth is slow­ing.

TRADE WATCH: The gap be­tween what the U.S. sells and what it buys from for­eign coun­tries hit $55.5 bil­lion in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Com­merce De­part­ment. The po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive deficit with China rose 7.1 per­cent to a record $43.1 bil­lion. The dra­matic ar­rest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, has driven home why it will be so hard for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­solve its deep­en­ing con­flict with China. Skep­ti­cism is grow­ing about the trade truce Pres­i­dents Don­ald Trump and Xi Jin­ping reached last week­end in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina.

EN­ERGY: U.S. bench­mark crude fell 24 cents to $51.25 a bar­rel. It dropped 2.6 per­cent to $51.49 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, dipped 39 cents to $59.67.

CUR­REN­CIES: The dol­lar weak­ened to 112.75 yen from 112.80 yen late Thurs­day. The euro rose to $1.1376 from $1.1345.

Trader Gre­gory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Ex­change, 2018. U.S. stocks tum­bled in early trad­ing Thurs­day fol­low­ing a sell-off in over­seas mar­kets. AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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