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Thursday November 23rd, 2017 6:19AM

Asia shares mixed as investors watch Trump's China visit

By The Associated Press
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HONG KONG (AP) — Asian shares were mixed Thursday as Japan's stock benchmark failed to sustain a strong rally and investors monitored President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged as much as 2 percent to its highest in more than a quarter century before giving up gains and falling 0.3 percent to 22,847.17. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5 percent to 2,540.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent to 29,073.81 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China was edged up 0.1 percent to 3,418.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.6 percent to 6,049.40. Taiwan's benchmark fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.

TOKYO RALLY: The Nikkei's surge in initial trading to its highest since January 1992 came after a poor monthly machinery orders report added to expectations central bank policymakers will maintain stimulus measures to prop up the economy. Early weakness in the yen and upbeat corporate earnings also helped lift investor sentiment. But the gains couldn't be sustained and the Nikkei turned negative in the afternoon session.

TRUMP TRIP: On Trump's second day in Beijing, U.S. and Chinese business leaders signed additional business agreements worth more than $200 billion in a ceremony attend by Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The deals included sales of U.S.-made chipsets, jet engines and auto parts, though they did not excite market watchers because some were non-binding contracts and many would have been made anyway but were saved for the trip. After the signing, Trump criticized the "very one-sided and unfair" trade relationship between the two countries but added he doesn't blame Beijing for taking advantage of the U.S.

QUOTEWORTHY: Such deals are important for maintaining good U.S.-China trading relations battered by Trump's dislike of swollen U.S. trade deficits, said Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING. "The improved economic relations with China will be key for the U.S. in keeping its own economic strength going and keeping the North Korea threat at bay, which is what matters for a sustained global growth and positive investor sentiments toward risky assets."

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks finished with small gains to close at record highs. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 2,594.38. The Dow Jones industrial average gained less than 0.1 percent to 23,563.36. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 percent to 6,789.12.

CURRENCIES: The dollar retreated to 113.61 yen from 113.88 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1606 from $1.1595.

ENERGY: Oil futures rebounded. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 3 cents to $56.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 39 cents to settle at $56.81 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 6 cents to $63.55 a barrel in London.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
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