Asian Markets Mixed After Huawei Wins Temporary Reprieve

Asian stock markets closed mixed on Tuesday, with some of the markets recovering from early losses after the U.S. Commerce Department temporarily eased some restrictions imposed on Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies in order to minimize disruption for its customers. The temporary reprieve will be in effect for 90 days.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 35.36 points or 1.23 percent to close at 2,905.97, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 149.75 points or 0.54 percent to settle at 27,637.86.

The Japanese market closed lower amid worries about escalating U.S.-China trade tensions after the U.S. blacklisting of Huawei. However, the market pared initial losses following news that the U.S. has temporarily eased trade restrictions on Huawei.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index declined 29.28 points or 0.14 percent to close at 21,272.45, after falling to a low of 21,160.43 earlier.

Shares of SoftBank Group gained 3.5 percent after U.S. wireless telecom carriers T-Mobile and Sprint received support from FCC chairman Ajit Pai for their $26 billion merger. SoftBank is the majority owner of Sprint shares.

Shares of suppliers to Huawei fell on worries about the blacklisting of the Chinese telecom giant. Tokyo Electron lost almost 2 percent, Murata Manufacturing Co. declined more than 1 percent and Taiyo Yuden dipped 0.6 percent.

The major exporters closed mixed. Sony lost more than 4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric fell almost 2 percent, while Canon rose more than 1 percent and Panasonic added almost 1 percent.

In the auto space, Honda edged up 0.1 percent, while Toyota dipped 0.5 percent.

Among the major banks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial added 0.7 percent while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial declined 0.4 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex fell 2.7 percent, while Japan Petroleum advanced more than 1 percent.

The Australian market closed higher for a fifth straight day, setting a fresh eleven-and-a-half year high.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index added 24.00 points or 0.37 percent to close at 6,500.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index rose 19.70 points or 0.30 percent to settle at 6,584.40.

The big four banks rose after the prudential regulator APRA proposed dropping the requirements for banks to use a minimum 7 percent interest rate to assess customers’ ability to meet their mortgage repayments.

Westpac advanced almost 3 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank gained slightly more than 2 percent each. National Australia Bank added more than 1 percent.

ANZ said it has appointed Ken Adams, who has been a senior partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, as its top lawyer to replace Bob Santamaria, who is retiring.

In the tech space, Afterpay Touch Group fell almost 5 percent, WiseTech Global lost more than 1 percent and Altium declined more than 2 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals fell more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto lost more than 1 percent, and BHP Group declined 0.7 percent.

Oil stocks also edged lower despite an increase in crude oil prices overnight. Oil Search declined 0.1 percent and Woodside Petroleum dipped less than 0.1 percent.

James Hardie Industries reported a 57 percent surge in full-year profit on higher revenues, but cut its final dividend. The construction materials company’s shares gained almost 4 percent.

OFX Group reported a 12 percent increase in its full-year underlying profit, while net profit declined 5.8 percent. The foreign exchange provider’s shares jumped almost 17 percent.

South Korean stocks closed modestly higher. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index or KOSPI added 5.54 points or 0.27 percent to settle at 2,061.25.

Shares of Samsung Electronics gained 2.7 percent as investors bet that the issues surrounding China’s Huawei could provide a boost to the South Korean conglomerate.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia and Taiwan also closed higher, while New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia closed lower.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday, led by tech stocks, amid ongoing concerns about the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute after Google suspended some of its business with Chinese tech giant Huawei. Google has cut Huawei off from business involving the transfer of hardware, software and technical services, complying with an order by President Donald Trump blocking the sale or transfer of U.S. technology to Huawei.

The Nasdaq plunged 113.91 points or 1.5 percent to 7,702.38, while the Dow fell 84.10 points or 0.3 percent to 25,679.90 and the S&P 500 slid 19.30 points or 0.7 percent to 2,840.23.

European Shares Slide On Trade Concerns

European stocks drifted lower on Monday, with airline and technology stocks coming under selling pressure after Ryanair warned on profits and China said it’s in no hurry to resume trade talks with the U.S.

Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended business with Huawei and German chipmaker Infineon Technologies also reportedly suspended shipments to the Chinese telecom giant, adding another dimension to the U.S.-China trade war.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down half a percent at 379.47 after declining 0.4 percent on Friday.

The German DAX was losing 0.6 percent, France’s CAC 40 index was declining 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down about half a percent.

Infineon shares slumped 4.4 percent while AMS plunged 11 percent and STMicroelectronics lost 9 percent.

German lender Deutsche Bank dropped 1.8 percent after reports that it ignored employees’ calls to report multiple transactions involving entities controlled by U.S. President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

Nokia rallied 2.3 percent and Ericsson advanced 1.3 percent on expectations that they could benefit from Huawei’s difficulties.

Ryanair Holdings fell 2.5 percent as it reported its weakest annual profit in four years and warned of a worse trading environment.

Shares of Low & Bonar slumped 26 percent after the performance materials group warned that its first-half results would be materially behind that of the prior year.

In economic releases, the euro area current account surplus dropped to a seasonally adjusted EUR 25 billion in March from EUR 28 billion in February due to a fall in primary income, data from the European Central Bank showed.

The visible trade surplus decreased to EUR 24 billion from EUR 26 billion, while services surplus rose to EUR 8 billion from EUR 7 billion.

British households’ financial wellbeing deteriorated at the fastest pace since September 2017, survey data from IHS Markit showed.

The household finance index, which measures households’ overall perception of financial wellbeing, dropped to 42.5 in May from April’s three-month high of 43.8.

The score indicated the strongest level of pessimism towards current financial wellbeing among U.K. households since September 2017.

BoJ Chief Says Current Low Interest Rates To Stay Longer

Japan’s extremely low interest rates are likely to remain at the current levels for an extended period given the uncertainties surrounding economic activity and prices, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Friday.

Kuroda said the Bank would “maintain the current extremely low levels of short- and long-term interest rates for an extended period of time, at least through around spring 2020, taking into account uncertainties regarding economic activity and prices including developments in overseas economies and the effects of the scheduled consumption tax hike.”

The governor observed that the momentum toward achieving the price stability target has been maintained. The bank forecast annual inflation to increase gradually toward 2 percent, although this will still take time.