Asia Markets: Asian markets rise as investors keep wary eye on recession risks

August 19
09:52 2019

Asian shares were higher Monday, as investors continue to rejigger their read on President Donald Trump’s trade war and growing worries about slowing economies around the world.

Trump on Sunday dismissed worries about a recession, touting a strong economy. “I don’t think we’re having a recession,” he told reporters as he returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club. “We’re doing tremendously well.”

Trump also suggested no quick end to the trade war with China, maintaining that China’s economy is struggling because of the tariffs and would like to make a trade deal with the U.S. He said he could make a “bad deal” and the stock markets would go up, “but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.”

“I’m just not ready to make a deal yet,” Trump said. “China would like to make a deal. I’m not ready.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.52%   rose 0.6% in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +1.90%  gained 1.6% after a massive but peaceful pro-democracy march, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.42%   added 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.71%   was 0.6% higher, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.79%  , Singapore STI, +0.52%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.30%   all rose. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.85%   gained 0.8%.

Among individual stocks, convenience-store chain FamilyMart 8028, +11.60%   surged in Tokyo trading. SoftBank 9984, +1.31%  and Mitsubishi UFJ 8306, +1.08%   also rose. In Hong Kong, Sunny Optical 2382, +5.66%   gained, along with property developer Country Garden 2007, +6.24%  and casino operator Galaxy Entertainment 27, +4.48%  . LG Electronics 066570, +1.17%  advanced in South Korea, while Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, +1.20%   rose in Taiwan. In Australia, Beach Energy BPT, +7.89%   surged, while Commonwealth Bank CBA, +1.33%   and ANZ Banking ANZ, +1.35%   rose as well.

On Friday, the S&P 500 SPX, +1.44%   rose 41.08 points, or 1.4%, to 2,888.68. The Dow DJIA, +1.20%  , which had an 800-point drop earlier in the week, added 306.62 points, or 1.2%, to 25,886.01. The Nasdaq COMP, +1.67%   climbed 129.38 points, or 1.7%, to 7,895.99. Each index still finished with a third-straight weekly decline.

Wall Street stocks and other investments had heaved and dropped all week, hitting a crescendo on Wednesday when a fairly reliable warning signal of recession flipped on in the U.S. Treasury market.

Investors are hoping that the Federal Reserve will continue to cut interest rates to shore up economic growth. The central bank lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting. It was the first time it lowered rates in a decade.

“With global economic engines still clattering and in desperate need of some high-grade Central Bank stimulus, investors are still pinning their hopes on central bank policy,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Valour Markets in Singapore.

Investors are also worried about Trump’s shocking announcement on Aug. 1 that he planned to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from early rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China. 

Benchmark crude oil CLU19, +0.95%   rose 43 cents to $ 55.30 a barrel. It rose 40 cents to settle at $ 54.87 a barrel Friday. Brent crude oil BRNV19, +1.09%  , the international standard, rose 53 cents to $ 59.17 a barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.01%   rose to 106.40 Japanese yen from 106.24 yen Friday.

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