China, Taiwan Lead Gains in Asian Stocks; Japan Little Changed

  • Investors await outcome of Trump-Xi meeting, economic data
  • China stocks rise amid bets on Hebei province development

China and Taiwan led gains in Asian equities Wednesday after a four-day break, while investors took a more muted approach in other markets ahead of a scheduled meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and China.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent to 147.57 as of 3:19 p.m. in Hong Kong. Stocks in Shanghai rose the most since August as investors wagered on potential beneficiaries of the development of an economic zone in Hebei province. Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. rose to the highest level since 2007 after posting a surprise increase in quarterly profit. Benchmarks in Japan and Australia fluctuated, following a similar move in their currencies.

Investors are taking some bets off the table after giving the MSCI gauge its best quarter in five years. They will look for cues from events starting later today -- the release of the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, the summit between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping and, on Friday, U.S. jobs data.

“The key is the outcome of the Trump-Xi meeting,” Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, said by phone. “The U.S. jobs report on Friday and the outlook for U.S. interest rates is also weighing on the market, together with the Fed minutes from the last meeting. I think a lot of traders are risk-off.”

China and Taiwan markets opened for the first time this week while those in Hong Kong and India resumed after Tuesday’s holiday.

Summary

  • Shanghai Composite Index +1.5%, Taiwan’s Taiex index +1.4%
  • Hang Seng Index +0.2%, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index +0.1%
  • Topix little changed, Nikkei 225 +0.3%; yen rose less than 0.1% against the dollar
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index +0.3%, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index +0.3%
  • South Korea’s Kospi little changed
  • India’s Sensex little changed, Nifty 50 +0.1%
  • Philippine Stock Exchange Index +1.9%, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index -0.2%, Straits Times Index -0.2%, Thailand’s SET -0.1%, Jakarta Composite Index little changed
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