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Asian markets mixed after fluctuating through week

WT24 Desk

HONG KONG – Asian markets were mixed Friday as volatile week drew to a close with investors preparing for the start of the corporate earnings season, AFP reports.

With few fresh developments on the China-US trade talks, the rally that
characterised the first three months of the year appears to be running out of steam, while Donald Trump’s threats of tariffs against Europe has jolted
confidence.

Dealers are also keeping watch on the release later in the day of Chinese
trade data, which should provide a new snapshot of how the world’s number two economy is performing as the global outlook weakens.

The readings come after a run of positive releases from Beijing including
forecast-beating factory activity and a jump in inflation.

“Recent improvements in China activity data… expectations of further
feed-through from policy stimulus to the real economy and signs of some
partial form of US-China trade truce have all given rise to a more bullish
China sentiment,” said Jasslyn Yeo, global market strategist at JP Morgan
Asset Management.

With Wall Street providing a weak lead, Asian equities were mixed in early
trade.

Hong Kong, Singapore, Wellington and Manila each dipped 0.1 percent, while Shanghai was barely moved.

Tokyo finished the morning 0.6 percent higher while Sydney added 0.6
percent, Seoul gained 0.2 percent and Taipei was slightly higher.

The business reporting season gets underway Friday in the United States
and observers will be looking for a read of the corporate landscape in the
first three months of the year.

The firms’ forecasts will be pored over but overall expectations for the
quarter are low.

– Key figures around 0230 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Up 0.6 percent at 21,841.90 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 29,797.91

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,191.61

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3065 from $1.3058 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 86.38 pence from 86.20 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1285 from $1.1253

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.72 yen from 111.66 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 19 cents at $63.77 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 20 cents at $71.03 per barrel

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,143.05 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent 7,417.95 (close)

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