Asian Shares Edge Higher Following Advance on Wall Street

An investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Shares edged higher in Asia on Wednesday after a rebound in technology stocks helped power an overnight rally on Wall Street.

Investors snapped up technology shares after the U.S. government opted to temporarily ease off on proposed restrictions on technology sales to Chinese companies.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.1% to 21,283.37 and the Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.2% to 2,064.86. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2% to 27,708.87, and the S&P ASX 200 in Sydney edged 0.2% higher to 6,510.70. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5% to 2,891.70. Shares fell in Taiwan and Jakarta but rose in Singapore and Thailand.

Japan reported that its trade surplus dropped 90% from a year earlier in April as a 6% drop in shipments to China bit into its exports. Exports fell 2.4% year-on-year while imports rose more than 6% thanks to higher oil prices. But that gloomy news was balanced by a rise in machinery orders.

On Wall Street on Tuesday, the U.S. government’s decision to issue a 90-day grace period on controls on technology sales to Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies offered a respite from worries over their potential impact.

Though the 90-day delay brightened sentiment, “the reality is that a resumption of the limitations after 90 days would most certainly still affect the global supply chain and hit hard at a touchy issue for China to potentially induce further retaliation,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

The Trump administration’s sanctions against Huawei and other Chinese technology companies have begun to bite even though their dimensions remain unclear. U.S. companies such as Qualcomm and Broadcom that supply the Chinese tech powerhouse with computer chips face a drop in sales, and Huawei’s smartphone sales could get decimated with the anticipated loss of Google’s popular software and services.

The U.S. move escalates trade-war tensions with Beijing, but also risks making China more self-sufficient over time. About one-third of Huawei’s suppliers are American chipmakers.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.9% to 2,864.36. The Dow gained 0.8% to 25,877.33.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 1.1%, to 7,785.72, erasing a good chunk of Monday’s losses. The Russell 2000 index of small companies picked up 1.3%, to 1,545.25.

Intel rose 2.1% and Texas Instruments added 2.2%. Broadcom, which gets about half of its revenue from China, gained 1%. Qualcomm, which gets more than half of its revenue from China, rose 1.5%. Apple rebounded 1.9% after falling a day earlier.


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