Asian Shares Advance On Trade Deal Hopes

Asian stocks rose on Monday as investors cheered unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data for October as well as the prospects of a long-term U.S.-China trade deal. The Japanese markets were closed for the Culture Day holiday.

The “Phase One” trade deal with China, once completed, will be signed somewhere in the U.S., President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Separately, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg that licenses would be released “very shortly” for U.S. firms to sell components to Huawei Technologies Co.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 17.29 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,975.49 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 446.54 points, or 1.7 percent, to 27,547.30 after the Chinese Commerce Ministry said the world’s two largest economies had reached “consensus on principles” during a “serious and constructive” telephone call between their main trade negotiators.

Encouraged by Beijing’s increasing efforts to open up its financial markets, investors awaited Chinese President Xi Jinping’s planned keynote speech at the Shanghai international import exhibition for further direction.

Australian markets closed higher even as banks declined after Westpac Banking Corp. reported a 15 percent slide in full-year cash profit, cut its dividend for the first time in a decade, and announced a $2.5 billion capital raising.

Shares of Westpac entered a trading halt until November 5, while the other three big banks fell between 0.9 percent and 2.5 percent ahead of the RBA’s monthly policy meeting due on Tuesday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 17.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,686.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 20.70 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,799.80.

Mining stocks surged as investors cheered signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks. BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group climbed 2-4 percent.

Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy rose between half a percent and 1 percent after oil prices jumped 4 percent on Friday following stronger than expected economic data in both the U.S. and China.

Australia’s retail sales growth halved in September, reflecting weak consumer spending despite interest rate cuts, official data revealed today.

Retail turnover climbed 0.2 percent month-on-month in September, slower than the 0.4 percent increase seen in August. Economists had forecast sales to grow 0.4 percent again.

Seoul stocks rose for the third straight session and the Korean won hit a nearly four-month high against the U.S. dollar on hopes the U.S. and China will reach a phase one trade deal this month.

The Kospi surged up 30.04 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 2,130.24, the highest level in almost four months. Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallied 2.2 percent, chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 1.9 percent and national carrier Korean Air Lines added 3.6 percent.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rising 39.86 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,801.55, led by electricity retailers.

New Zealand’s Treasury downwardly revised its forecast for a neutral interest rate by 75 basis points, saying that business activity remained weak in the September quarter and is expected to have weighed on growth.

Malaysia’s KLSE Composite Index advanced despite weak exports data. The country’s exports unexpectedly fell in September, while imports growth exceeded expectations, data from the Department of Statistics revealed. Exports declined 6.8 percent year-on-year to MYR 77.7 billion in the month.

U.S. stocks rallied on Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 reaching fresh record closing highs, as investors cheered better than expected jobs data and some relatively positive trade headlines. The major averages rose between 1 percent and 1.1 percent.

The Labor Department report showed that U.S. non-farm payroll employment climbed by 128,000 jobs in October compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 89,000 jobs.

There were also substantial upward revisions to job growth in September and August, with revised data showing employment climbing by 180,000 jobs and 219,000 jobs, respectively.

Sentiment was also helped by fresh optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal after a report from China’s Xinhua News Agency said negotiators have “reached consensus on principles.”

Traders largely shrugged off a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showing a continued contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of October.

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