Asian stocks rose modestly on Wednesday, paring earlier gains as optimism that trade ties between Washington and Beijing were on the mend gave way to questions about the next phase of the diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two countries.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was 0.35 percent higher. It gained 1.2 percent the previous day after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen as striking a more conciliatory stance following a week of tit-for-tat tariff threats between Beijing and Washington.
The index’s surge lost some steam, however, with some Asian equity markets staggering, as the world’s two biggest economies are still seen needing to clear more hurdles before reaching any sort of settlement over trade issues.
“The United States and China are still at a phase in which they are attempting to probe the intentions of the other,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
Australian stocks were down 0.25 percent and Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.1 percent.
South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.25 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.5 percent and Shanghai added 0.2 percent.
The Dow advanced 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.7 percent and Nasdaq dded 2.1 percent overnight after Xi on Tuesday pledged to further open up the economy and promised to cut import tariffs on products including cars. [.N]
In currencies, the euro was a shade higher at $1.2358 and on its fourth session of gains.
The common currency was not far from a two-week high of $1.2378 scaled overnight after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Reuters in an interview that its 2.55-trillion euro bond buying program would be wound down by the end of this year.
The dollar dipped 0.05 percent to 107.130 yen. The greenback had gained 0.4 percent overnight when an uptick in risk appetite weakened demand for its Japanese peer, often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 89.600 after shedding 0.3 percent the previous day.
Oil prices remained elevated, after steep gains in the previous session, as the commodity markets eyed an escalation of Middle East tensions.
Brent dipped 0.1 percent to $70.96 a barrel after jumping 3.5 percent on Tuesday, when it rose to $71.34, highest since December 2014.