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ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Struggle As Growth Worries Overshadow Trade-deal Hopes

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04/15/2019 | 07:59am EDT

By Marketwatch and Associated Press

Nikkei up around 1.3% as Mnuchin suggests final round of trade talks near

Asian market finished mixed Monday as hopes over a trade deal mixed with worries about global growth.

The Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.3%. Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.4% and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.4%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng picked up 1.1% to 30,245.00, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.1%. Stocks rose in Taiwan.

On Saturday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the U.S. and China were moving closer to an agreement on trade.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, Mnuchin said the U.S. and China had held phone discussions last week and he wasn't sure if more face-to-face meetings would be needed. He did not give a timeframe for when negotiations might be wrapped up, but his comments fueled hopes that a wide-ranging dispute between the world's two biggest economies could soon be put to rest.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that the U.S. was watering down demands (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china-exclusive/exclusive-u-s-waters-down-demand-china-ax-subsidies-in-push-for-trade-deal-sources-idUSKCN1RR02X)that China cut down on industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal, after encountering strong Chinese opposition. On Saturday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. was open to facing repercussions (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-13/mnuchin-says-u-s-open-to-facing-penalties-in-china-trade-deal)if it doesn't live up to terms of the trade deal, Bloomberg News reported, and said talks are "getting close to the final round of concluding issues."

"U.S. and China have been actively keeping alive hopes that a trade deal is within reach. This coupled with better-than-expected China data in March led the Shanghai Composite Index to its highest level since March 2018," DBS Group Research strategists Philip Wee and Joanne Goh said in a commentary.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group jumped in Tokyo trading, and Nintendo and oil producer Inpex also gained. In Hong Kong, real estate companies such as China Resources Land and Country Garden rose. Asiana Airlines surged in South Korea after reports that its parent company had agreed to sell a stake in the airline (https://www.reuters.com/article/asiana-airlines-sale/asiana-airlines-shares-surge-on-report-of-parent-groups-stake-sale-idUSL3N21X067). Beach Energy and Oil Search advanced in Australia.

Last week, China reported that its exports in March rose 14.2% from a year earlier. This was a turnaround from a 20.8% contraction in February, signaling stronger global demand. Sales to the American market also accelerated despite President Donald Trump's tariffs of up to 25% on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

International Monetary Fund officials meeting in Washington D.C. issued a joint communique warning on global economic growth, following a downbeat assessment by the IMF's chief economist on April 10.

On Wall Street, strong gains by banks on Friday led the broad S&P 500 index to its third straight weekly gain. It finished 0.7% higher at 2,907.41.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded 1% to 26,412.30 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.5%, to 7,984.16.

Benchmark U.S. crude shed 33 cents to $63.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 31 cents to close at $63.89 on Friday. Brent crude , used to price international oils, lost 21 cents to $71.34 per barrel in London. It added 72 cents in the previous session to $71.55.

   The dollar   weakened to 111.94 yen from 112.01 yen late Friday. 

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASIANA AIRLINES INC End-of-day quote.
BEACH ENERGY LTD -3.35% 2.6 End-of-day quote.98.51%
CHINA RESOURCES LAND LIMITED -0.30% 32.95 End-of-day quote.9.29%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.46% 2999.28 End-of-day quote.20.07%
COUNTRY GARDEN HOLDINGS CO LTD -0.78% 10.12 End-of-day quote.5.31%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.19% 27094.79 Delayed Quote.16.22%
HANG SENG -0.96% 26488.45 Real-time Quote.3.48%
INPEX CORP 0.99% 1066 End-of-day quote.10.27%
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX 0.39% 2079.08 Real-time Quote.1.45%
NASDAQ 100 0.17% 7901.792115 Delayed Quote.24.63%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.07% 8182.879231 Delayed Quote.23.37%
NIKKEI 225 0.38% 22044.45 Real-time Quote.9.93%
NINTENDO CO., LTD 0.17% 42460 End-of-day quote.49.45%
OIL SEARCH LIMITED 0.00% 7.6 End-of-day quote.8.38%
S&P 500 0.00% 3006.79 Delayed Quote.19.94%
S&P/ASX 200 0.54% 6728.5 Real-time Quote.18.58%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP 0.37% 4616 End-of-day quote.-34.10%
US DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (USD/JPY) -0.07% 108.02 Delayed Quote.-1.40%
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