Asia Markets: Asian markets mixed as U.S.-China trade deal needs more time

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 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 NIK, +0.14%   edged up 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.88%   gained 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.11%   inched up 0.1% as the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.27%   rose 0.2%. South Korea’s 180721, -0.18%  etreated 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.03%  , Singapore STI, -0.14%  , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.08%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.35%   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.49%   fell 0.4%.

Among individual stocks, e-commerce company Rakuten 4755, +2.37%   gained in Tokyo trading, along with Sony 6758, +1.80%   and SoftBank 9984, +1.32%  . Property companies surged in Hong Kong, led by New World Development 17, +4.46%  , Sun Hung Kai Properties 16, +3.21%   and Henderson Land Development 12, +2.88%  , after new government measures were announced to ease a housing shortage. Tech companies such as Samsung 005930, -0.99%  , SK Hynix 000660, -1.58%   and LG Electronics 066570, -1.85%   fell in South Korea. BHP BHP, -2.36%   and Rio Tinto RIO, -2.27%   sank in Australia.

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