Asian shares mixed after signing of China-U.S. trade pact

Share prices were mixed Thursday in moderate trading in Asia after the U.S. and China signed a preliminary trade agreement that investors hope will bring better relations between the two biggest economies.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.10%   was flat Thursday at 23,925.70, while the Kospi 180721, +0.48%   in South Korea added 0.2% to 2,236.01. Shares fell in China, with the Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, -0.33%   giving up 0.3% to 3,081.38. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng HSI, +0.06%   edged 0.1% lower, to 28,752.32.

In Australia, the S&P ASX/200 XJO, +0.67%   climbed 0.5% to 7,032.60 to a fresh new high, on optimism over the trade deal.

President Donald Trump and China’s chief negotiator, Liu He, signed the “Phase 1” deal on Wednesday before a group of corporate executives and reporters at the White House. The pact eases some sanctions on China. In return, Beijing has agreed to step up its purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods.

“This was telegraphed well enough that the market is kind of looking through it and toward the next phase and what that means,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments.

The agreement helped propel the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.31%   closed above 29,000 points for the first time and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.19%   hit its second record high in three days Wednesday.

The deal done, traders will likely shift their attention elsewhere for now. But skepticism over the long-term prospects for resolving key issues remains, analysts said.

“Despite some negative spin-doctoring this morning, it’s hard to argue that the deal marks a significant step in ending the frictions that have cast a dark cloud over global economic growth,” Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said in a commentary.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.2%

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