Asian markets were mostly down in early trading Thursday as investors reined in earlier optimism of a pending trade deal between the U.S. and China.
Reuters reported Wednesday that the “phase one” deal, which was hoped to be signed in mid-November, might be delayed until December, and that European locations, including London, were being considered for a meeting site for Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
“The delay, though, may be hiding deeper issues with the trade talks,” Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia Pacific market analyst for Oanda, wrote in a note. “Namely, the scale of tariff rollbacks and other conditions that China now feel they can demand from the U.S. Believing the U.S. president is weakened, and thus more amenable to concessions is a dangerous game,” he said. “Push too hard, and we could very quickly be back to square one.”
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.08% dipped 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.34% fell 0.4%. The Shangahi Composite SHCOMP, -0.30% slipped 0.3% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.19% rose 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.05% was about flat, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.77% , Singapore STI, +0.03% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.02% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -1.27% retreated. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.87% gained 0.8%.
Among individual stocks, Mitsubishi Motors 7211, -6.63% and Kobe Steel 5406, -5.19% sank in Tokyo trading. SoftBank 9984, -1.48% slipped after the company’s CFO said the investment strategy for its Vision Fund will not change, despite mistakes made with WeWork. Toyota shares 7203, -0.07% inched down ahead of quarterly earnings later in the day. In Hong Kong, AAC 2018, -3.52% and Tencent 700, -1.92% fell, while Samsung 005930, -0.75% declined in South Korea. Foxconn 2330, -1.45% dropped in Taiwan, while National Australia Bank NAB, +2.27% and Commonwealth Bank CBA, +1.20% gained in Australia.