Asia Markets: Asian markets largely shrug off Trump’s approval of tariffs on China

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Asian stocks opened mixed Friday following wide declines the previous day. The improved start also came after a European Central Bank-fueled jump in Europe and muted moves in the U.S. following Wednesday’s selloff after the Fed’s interest-rate hike.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.38%   gained 0.4% even as the yen rose further overnight, except against the dollar USDJPY, +0.08%  . The pharmaceutical sector was up 1.3% and agriculture rose 0.7%, but banks were down 0.2% as low-rate expectations persist after the ECB’s pledge to keep rates low at least for the next year. The Bank of Japan’s latest policy statement was due later Friday.

Chinese stocks were little changed in early trading as President Donald Trump’s approval of some $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods got a shrug after this week’s selling. Shenzhen’s index 399106, -1.85%   hit four-month lows the past two days and the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.91%   entered Friday’s trading just above 2018 closing lows after falling 12 of the prior 17 days. The tariff implementation “is not a surprise as it has been a cloud overhanging since March,” noted Tai Hui, chief market strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management.

Hong Kong stocks HSI, -0.17%   were also started little changed, though heavyweight Tencent 0700, +0.53%   gained an early 0.8%. Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.47%   dipped further after its beatdown Wednesday, with construction names bouncing back some.

Australia’s benchmark XJO, +1.22%   rose as consumer staples rose 1% to another record. But New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.38%  , which has notched seven highest-ever closes in the past right days, was off slightly%.

Most Southeast Asian markets were closed Friday for the end of Ramadan.