Asian markets subdued ahead of signing of U.S.-China ‘phase one’ trade deal

Asian markets were mixed in subdued early trading Monday, ahead of the signing of a “phase one” trade deal between the U.S. and China later this week.

The world’s two largest economic powers are scheduled to sign the phase-one deal Wednesday in Washington, with China reportedly agreeing to buy more U.S. agricultural products and implementing economic reforms, and some tariff relief coming from the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the U.S. and China have also agreed to hold semiannual talks to discuss and resolve points of dispute.

“It’s unlikely there will be an exceptional level of excitement in the market as the agreement has been extensively telegraphed, although President Trump will likely herald the deal in with much fanfare,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist for AxiTrader, in a note Sunday. “Provided the deal inks a commitment from China to increase agricultural products and outlines a dependable enforcement mechanism, the market will go merrily along the way.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.82%   rose 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.06%   was about flat and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.70%   advanced 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.66%   gained 0.6% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.48%  , SIngapore STI, -0.08%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.02%   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.47%   fell 0.5%. Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, Apple component makers Sunny Optical 2382, +1.69%   and AAC 2018, +1.05%  rose in Hong Kong trading, along with Sun Hung Kai Properties 16, +2.18%   and Bank of China 3988, +1.83%  . Hyundai Motor 005380, +1.32%   advanced in South Korea, while BHP BHP, -1.03%   and Oil Search OSH, -1.89%   fell in Australia.

Stocks ended lower Friday, after the Dow briefly topped

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