Stocks mixed as investors await US-China trade news

Investors stand at trading terminals at a securities exchange house in Shanghai, China. Photographer: Qilai Shen

SYDNEY: Stocks saw a mixed session Friday in Asia, with Japanese shares modestly lower, their Chinese counterparts higher and the US futures little changed as investors await results from key US-China trade talks.

Treasuries edged higher.

European futures also tipped a muted end to a largely uneventful week for global equities.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with China’s top trade negotiator in Washington Friday, with the two sides facing a Mar 1 deadline to avoid a further escalation in tariffs – unless they extend the period for talks.

Also in focus on Friday is a speech from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The dollar was flat, while oil traded just above US$57 a barrel in New York.

New Zealand’s dollar fell after the central bank said proposals to lift bank capital requirements may force it to cut interest rates.

A gauge of smaller Chinese stocks entered a bull market after climbing about 21% since October.

The largely lacklustre moves in equities come after the MSCI’s global gauge of stocks surged 15% in less than two months on optimism over a US-China trade agreement and a less hawkish stance from some of the world’s major central banks.

Despite increasing confidence a deal can be done, investors shouldn’t expect the stellar run for risk assets to continue at this pace, said Richard Turnill, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock.

“Don’t chase the rally,” Turnill told Bloomberg TV.

“Don’t extrapolate the double-digit gains we’ve seen in the first six weeks of this year.”