Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday as investors sought clarity after conflicting messages about the state of U.S.-China trade talks.
Chinese officials announced Thursday that a mutual rollback of tariffs had been agreed upon as part of a “phase one” trade deal, but while one U.S. official confirmed that, two others disputed it, according to the Wall Street Journal. Reuters reported that the subject of rolling back tariffs faced “fierce internal opposition” within the White House.
China got encouraging economic news as exports fell less than expected in October, down just 0.9% from the prior year compared to September’s 3.2% decline. Experts had expected a 3.1% fall. Chinese imports also fell less than expected.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.16% inched up 0.1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.44% retreated 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.35% rose 0.3% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.81% gained 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.18% declined 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.19% , Singapore STI, -0.79% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.06% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.05% were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.14% dipped 0.2%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +2.98% gained in Tokyo trading, as did Toyota 7203, +1.85% , while retailers Fast Retailing 9983, -1.23% and Rakuten 4755, -4.60% fell. In Hong Kong, Geely Automobile 175, +2.62% rose while New World Development 17, -1.54% and Tencent 700, -1.14% declined. SK Hynix 000660, -1.67% fell in South Korea while Apple component maker Largan Precision 3008, +1.50% advanced in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, +1.48% and Woodside Petroleum WPL, +1.88% gained in Australia.