Asian Shares Mixed Ahead of Trump-Xi Meeting

A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Shares wavered Tuesday in Asia as regional markets appeared to shrug off the latest North Korean missile test. But trading was light ahead of U.S. data releases and meetings later in the week between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1 percent to 18,826.05 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3 percent to 24,197.17. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2 percent to 2,156.01. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,867.70 and the Shanghai Composite index advanced 1.1 percent to 3,256.67. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

Trade agreements and regional tensions will be in focus as President Trump and President Xi meet Thursday and Friday at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. While some analysts expect the two sides to keep friction to a minimum by following an agreed-upon script, others worry President Trump’s past harsh criticism of China and mounting dissatisfaction with Beijing in American business circles auger ill for the summit.

“To some extent, the market’s imagination appears to be running wild with the possibilities of the outcome from this meeting, especially given the impulsiveness we have seen from President Donald Trump thus far on issues regarding China. This will likely cause many to stay on the sidelines ahead of the meeting,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

The Commerce Department said U.S. factory orders kept growing in February thanks to greater demand for commercial aircraft. Boeing said it will sell $3 billion in aircraft to an Iranian airline, and its stock gained $2.05, or 1.2 percent, to $178.70.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged nearly 0.1 percent higher to 2,360.16. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.2 percent to 20,689.24 and the Nasdaq composite eked out a 0.1 percent gain, to 5,898.61. Despite the gains, slightly more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange, and the Russell 2000 index, which contains smaller-company stocks, lost 0.1 percent to 1,368.18.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 32 cents to $51.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 79 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $51.35 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 29 cents to $54.46. On Monday, it gained $1.05, or 2 percent, to $54.17 a barrel in London.

The dollar slipped to 110.61 yen from 110.96 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0674 from $1.0665.

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