An investor sits in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as traders were unsure if reported efforts by the U.S. and China to restart trade talks would bear fruit. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Asia shares mixed on US plans for higher tariffs, weak data

August 01, 2018 - 1:49 am

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian shares are mixed as U.S. plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and weaker-than-expected manufacturing data weighed on sentiment.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to 22,746.70 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,307.02 on Wednesday. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 1.5 percent to 2,833.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 percent to 28,522.94. Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 6,275.70. Shares were higher in Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose on strong results from industrial and health care companies and on the anonymously sourced reports that the U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks. S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to 2,816.29 on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 25,415.19 and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5 percent higher at 7,671.79. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks jumped 1.1 percent to 1,670.80.

U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the situation, that U.S. and Chinese officials are looking for ways to reopen trade talks. Earlier this month, both nations placed import taxes on $34 billion worth of goods, and they've been threatening more severe measures. In another report, Bloomberg said the Trump administration will propose raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent, from the planned 10 percent. It cited three people familiar with internal negotiations. If proven true, negotiations may be a long-drawn affair even if both parties agree to start talking.

CHINA & JAPAN PMI: On Tuesday, private surveys showed that manufacturing was slowing in China and Japan. China's Caixin Manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) was 50.8 in July, slightly lower than 51.0 in June. The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI eased to 52.3 in July from 53.0 a month earlier. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while lower numbers indicate contraction on the indexes' 100-point scale.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "There were clearly some negatives for markets in news that the U.S. was planning to raise tariffs on China. Although PMI readings from China and Japan were not stunningly bad, they added to the negative turn in the region today," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in an interview.

APPLE EARNINGS: Apple made more money from higher priced iPhones in the latest quarter, even as the number of phones it sold did not change much. Apple unit sales rose just 1 percent from a year ago, but the average selling price grew 20 percent to $724 per iPhone, up from $606 a year ago. Its stocks climbed 2.5 percent to $195.14 in aftermarket trading on Tuesday, after the company's reported third-quarter profit and sales were better than analysts expected.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 36 cents to $68.40 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 2 percent to settle at $68.76 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 27 cents to $73.94 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.08 yen from 111.83 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1679 from $1.1697.

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