By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Mnuchin hopes for final deal next month; property companies boost Hang Seng
Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday amid a report that there's still a ways to go before the U.S. and China finalize a "phase one" limited trade deal.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said ongoing negotiations are hoped to be wrapped up and a deal signed next month, the South China Morning Post reported (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3033284/no-invitation-china-us-officials-travel-beijing-more-talks)Thursday, but there has been no invitation from Chinese officials for further high-level talks in Beijing. The report said Mnuchin hopes President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping will sign an agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in mid-November. Mnuchin also said there was no plan yet on what to do about U.S. tariff hikes on $156 billion of Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December.
Meanwhile, there was optimism in Europe that a Brexit agreement could be reached as soon as Thursday, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that negotiations were "in the final stretch."
Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1% as the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.2%. South Korea's etreated 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia were mixed. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4%.
Among individual stocks, e-commerce company Rakuten gained in Tokyo trading, along with Sony and SoftBank . Property companies surged in Hong Kong, led by New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development (0012.HK) , after new government measures were announced (https://www.npr.org/2019/10/16/770560183/hong-kong-announces-housing-reforms-as-government-faces-20th-week-of-protests) to ease a housing shortage. Tech companies such as Samsung (005930.SE) , SK Hynix (000660.SE) and LG Electronics (066570.SE) fell in South Korea. BHP and Rio Tinto sank in Australia.