Asian Shares Mixed on Dollar, Worries on Trump Policies

TOKYO (AP) -
Currency dealers work in front of electronic boards showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) (L) and the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and South Korean won (C), at a dealing room of a bank in Seoul, South Korea, November 9, 2016. Jung Ha-jong/Yonhap via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. SOUTH KOREA OUT. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
Currency dealers work in front of electronic boards showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) (L) and the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and South Korean won (C), at a dealing room of a bank in Seoul, South Korea. (Jung Ha-jong/Yonhap via Reuters)

Asian shares were mixed on Friday and the dollar recovered, but expectations grew that President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policies might fuel inflation, even as some of the initial jitters have subsided.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.3 percent to 22,538.51 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 1,989.12. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to finish at 17,374.79 after touching a half-year high in early trading as the yen fell against the dollar. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.8 percent to 5,370.70. Shares in Taiwan dropped 2.1 percent and in Indonesia they fell 3 percent. The Shanghai Composite added 0.7 percent at 3,193.72.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.2 percent to a record high 18,807.88. The S&P 500 index added 0.2 percent to 2,167.48. The Dow and S&P 500 index are on a four-day winning streak. But the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.8 percent to 5,208.80.

Investors are hopeful about some of the possible policy changes under the Trump administration, taking over in January, including tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation. An improved American economy is a certain boon to export-driven Asia.

But some analysts urged caution on such optimism, while noting that U.S. markets’ being closed later in the day for Veterans Day may help ease some of the market swings. “Trump has not announced anything new so far, apart from reaffirming his priority to repeal and replace ‘Obamacare’ on top of implementing tax reforms,” said Chang Wei Liang, Singapore Treasury Division at Mizuho Bank, referring to President Obama’s healthcare program.

Investors have been pulling out of bonds in anticipation that Trump’s policies could spur inflation and lead to higher interest rates, both of which are bad for bonds. The sell-off in bonds continued Thursday, sending bond prices lower and kicking the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 2.15 percent, the highest it’s been since January, from 2.06 percent late Wednesday. That yield is a benchmark used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including home mortgages. Higher yields on bonds would help draw investors from equity markets, pulling prices lower.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 15 cents to $44.51 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 19 cents to $45.65 a barrel in London.

The U.S. currency rose to 106.51 yen from 105.33 yen late Thursday in Asia. The euro slid to $1.0918 from $1.0945.