Asia Markets: Asian stocks gain as trade tensions ease


Asian stocks held up in early Monday trade as investors took a sanguine view on U.S.-China trade tensions.

Benchmarks in Japan NIK, +0.06%  , South Korea SEU, +0.34%   and Taiwan Y9999, +0.20%   posted modest gains, with the tech sector leading the gains. Samsung Electronics 005930, +1.61%   rebounded 1.4% to erase last week’s decline. S&P 500 futures ESM8, +0.51%   were up 0.5%.

“Markets don’t want to be excessively and prematurely alarmed,” said Vishnu Varathan, a senior analyst at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

The stock moves came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sunday that he expects China to lower trade barriers with the U.S. acting reciprocally on taxes. “Great future for both countries!” Trump tweeted.

Read: Trump administration dials down the rhetoric on China tariffs

Varathan said the tweet hinted at a more conciliatory tone, with Trump appearing “less abrasive.”

Investors also appeared to be encouraged by news that North Korea has confirmed its readiness to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with the U.S.

“If you read between the lines, then you can expect China to have helped,” said Varathan.

Hong Kong stocks were the biggest gainer, with the Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.80%   climbing 0.5%. Other Asian benchmarks logged gains of no more than 0.2%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -0.43%   fell 0.5% on weakness in commodity stocks and property firms.

Looking ahead, markets will be watching Chinese and U.S. inflation data due Wednesday, as well as China trade data set to be released Friday, CMC Markets’ Michael McCarthy wrote in a note to clients. “However, the sudden risk-off moves at the end of last week point to a higher degree of investor sensitivity to bad news,” he said.

Currency and commodity markets were little changed Monday. Crude futures LCOM8, +0.39%   were up about 0.3% in Asian morning trading after Friday’s 2% decline.

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to speak after trading ends Monday — first day of his second term as central-bank chief.