Asian stocks mixed on trade optimism, strong US data

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. Shares were mixed Monday in quiet trading ahead of Christmas holidays for many markets.

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Monday amid optimism about an interim U.S.-Chinese trade deal and positive American economic data.

Tokyo’s market benchmark advanced, while Shanghai and Seoul declined and Hong Kong was unchanged.

Investors were encouraged by President Donald Trump’s statement that a “Phase 1” trade deal with Beijing will be signed shortly.

That will “likely keep sentiment bolstered at the start of this week,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 23,858.86 while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7% to 2,983.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 17 points at 27,854.73.

Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.2% to 2,198.77 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.3% to 6,792.60. Taiwan and New Zealand advanced, while Singapore declined.

On Friday, sentiment got a boost when U.S. third quarter economic growth was revised up to 0.4% over the previous quarter from the earlier reading of 0.3%

Recession fears have receded after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times and indicated they will stay low.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index turned in its 10th winning week in the last 11, closing up 0.5% to 3,221.22.

With less than two weeks left in 2019, the S&P 500 is up 28.5% for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.3% to 28,455.09. The Nasdaq composite added 0.4% to 8,924.96.

Washington and Beijing at least temporarily removed a major source of investor anxiety by agreeing two weeks ago to roll back punitive tariffs imposed in a fight over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.

U.S. officials said Beijing agreed to buy more American farm exports and stop pressuring companies to hand over technology, though Chinese officials have yet to confirm details.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 14 cents to $60.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 84 cents on Friday to close at $60.44. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 11 cents to $65.09 per barrel in London. The contract lost 39 cents the previous session to $65.20.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 109.41 yen from Friday’s 109.44 yen. The euro gained to $1.1080 from $1.1078.

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