Stocks in Asia Mixed; Chinese Yuan Jumps

On Wednesday stocks in Asia traded mixed after United States President Donald Trump hinted once again that a closely watched trade deadline in March may be pushed back.

Mainland Chinese markets slipped by the end of the morning session. The Shanghai composite declined around 0.15 percent while the Shenzhen component shed 0.319 percent. The Shenzhen composite also slipped 0.36 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.66 percent. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corp jumped 3.07 percent after an exchange disclosure showed on Monday that tech behemoth Alibaba had increased its stake in the company to almost 12 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.34 percent in afternoon trade while the Topix gained 0.21 percent as shares of robot maker Fanuc advanced 0.34 percent. Over in South Korea, the Kospi added 0.88 percent.

The ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.31 percent in afternoon trade as the sectors mostly traded lower. “Global financial markets continue to trade with a cautiously optimistic tone in the current environment,” Rakuten Securities Australia said in a morning note.

“Investors are craving clarity on a number of issues that are affecting market sentiment and there’s a chance they could have some more answers by the end of the week,” they said.

Donald Trump said Tuesday that trade talks with China are going well, adding the current March deadline is not a “magical date.” Both countries have until then to come up with a deal. Otherwise, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese products could take effect. Trump indicated last week, however, he would be willing to push back the deadline.

“If we do have that deadline pushed out, it at least allows the two parties to reach a sort of framework for agreeing something around those more structural, difficult long-term issues,” Isaac Poole, chief investment officer at Oreana Financial Services, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday.

An agreement between the U.S. and China around issues such as the trade deficit and currency stabilization are the “easiest” parts for the two parties to achieve, Poole said.

“Things like intellectual property transfer and those longer term structural issues, they’re going to take longer than 60 days. They’re going to take longer than 90 days to reach an agreement,” he added.

Representatives from the U.S. and China are meeting in Washington this week to resume trade negotiations, with high level discussions set to happen later in the week, the White House said Monday.