HONG KONG (AP) — World stocks were mixed Monday, with Asian gains led by Hong Kong after President Donald Trump softened his tone on trade, saying he would seek a way to keep Chinese technology company ZTE in business despite U.S. sanctions.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares were mixed in early trading. France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.2 percent to 5,531.59 and Germany’s DAX lost 0.2 percent to 12,973.29. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1 percent lower to 7,717.17. Wall Street was poised to open higher. Dow futures advanced 0.3 percent to 24,908.00 and broader S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent to 2,735.00.
ASIAN SCORECARD: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to close at 22,865.86 while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to end at 2,476.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.4 percent to 31,541.08 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.3 percent to 3,174.03. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 6,135.30. Taiwan shares rose but Southeast Asian indexes were mixed as Malaysian shares resumed trading after last week’s election. The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 1.3 percent to 1,873.07.
TRUMP ON CHINA: In a surprise overture to Beijing, Trump tweeted that he wanted to help Chinese smartphone and telecom gear maker ZTE “get back into business, fast.” The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares have been suspended since U.S. authorities banned it last month for seven years from importing U.S. components in a case involving illegal exports to North Korea and Iran. China’s foreign ministry responded by saying it “highly commended” the move, ahead of trade talks in Washington this week.
ANALYST’S VIEW: “It seems Trump’s move is a good starting point, and likely to be welcomed by markets,” said Hussein Sayed, chief strategist at FXTM. “Many policymakers will criticize such a reversal, but from an investor’s perspective, it’s a sign of easing relations between the world’s two largest economies and should support risk-taking.”
MALAYSIAN MARKETS: Malaysian markets reopened after a public holiday following 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad’s surprise election victory. Shares of regional budget airline AirAsia fell as much as 13 percent early Monday after the carrier’s chief Tony Fernandes apologized for supporting defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak. By mid-afternoon they were down 5.1 percent. The benchmark index also rebounded after opening as more than 2 percent lower, rallying 1.4 percent, while Malaysia’s currency dipped in a knee-jerk reaction to uncertainties over the change in government.
ENERGY: Oil futures slipped. Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 37 cents to .33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 66 cents to settle at .70 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 45 cents to close at .67.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.53 yen from 109.36 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to .1974 from .1942.