Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mixed on Monday, as investors looked for further signs of a pick-up in global growth and progress in U.S.-China trade talks.
Optimism prevailed on the trade front after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday a U.S.-China trade agreement would go “way beyond” previous efforts to open China’s markets to U.S. companies.
Mnuchin told the media on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that he believed Washington and Beijing are “getting close to the final round of concluding issues.”
Chinese shares gave up early gains to end lower, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing down 10.84 points or 0.3 percent at 3,177.79. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 99.04 points or 0.3 percent to 29,810.72.
Meanwhile, Japanese shares hit a four-month high, with sentiment lifted by a weaker yen and positive cues from global markets.
The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 298.55 points or 1.4 percent to 22,169.11, extending gains for the third straight session. The broader Topix closed 1.4 percent higher at 1,627.93.
Banks Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rallied 1-2 percent after U.S. financial giants J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo both reported better than expected earnings.
Exporters Canon and Honda Motor rose over 1 percent each as the safe haven yen struggled near a 1-1/2-month low against the dollar.
Australian markets fluctuated before finishing on a flat note. Gold miners succumbed to selling pressure, offsetting gains in the financial sector.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index finished marginally higher at 6,251.40 after posting its biggest weekly gain in seven. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended flat at 6,347.90.
Financials gained ground for the second straight session, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia rising 0.8 percent after announcing job