Asian Stocks Fall as Japanese Decline Offsets Chinese Rally

  • Abe-Trump and drops in Hitachi, Toshiba weigh on Tokyo stocks
  • Chinese economic data ‘look encouraging’: Bocom International

Why Stocks Are Trading a Bit Sideways Lately

Japanese equities slid ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Friday meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, offsetting a rally in Greater China shares to lead Asia stocks lower.

“Japanese stocks are consolidating after the yen strengthened, while investors wait for more geopolitical catalysts,” said Nicholas Teo, a trading strategist at KGI Securities Pte. in Singapore.

Japan’s Topix fell 0.7 percent as the yen held near a two-month high. Shares of Hitachi Ltd. slumped 8 percent after the company said Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. has doubled its demand for payment related to projects in South Africa. Toshiba Corp. dropped 6.7 percent as Mizuho Securities said it sees “greater risk” of the stock being delisted.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.3 percent as of 5:15 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index advanced 1.2 percent to the highest level since Nov. 2015, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5 percent. Trump told Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a letter that he is looking forward to a constructive relationship.

“Trump’s attitude towards China appears softer than expected and he has not labeled the country as a currency manipulator so far,” said Hao Hong, chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. in Hong Kong. “China’s January data look encouraging and new bank lending is expected to be a record high.”

  • S&P/ASX 200 +0.2%; South Korea’s Kospi little changed; Philippine Stock Exchange Index +0.3%
  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI little changed; Straits Times Index +0.4%; Jakarta Composite Index +0.2%; Taiex +0.5%
  • SK Hynix -3.5% after cut to neutral from buy at UBS
  • Tsingtao Brewery +5.6% as Carlsberg said to be weighing purchase of stake
  • AMP Ltd. +4% after announcing stock buyback and cost cuts
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