The Asian and Pacific Rim equity markets were mostly higher Friday as trader sentiment improved over trade related news. Asian sentiment remains tilted towards risk off as concerns over the coronavirus remain.
In Japan, the financial markets bucked the trend to trade lower. The benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 0.62 percent as shares of blue chip Fast Retailing gave up 1.34 percent. The broader Topix index, in Tokyo, was down three quarters of a percent.
In Japanese corporate news, automaker Nissan Motor saw its shares tanking nine percent after its annual operating income was cut by forty percent.
In South Korea, the Kospi composite index reversed early losses to gain 0.53 percent and elsewhere in the Asian and Pacific Rim, the Australian ASX added 0.46 percent.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.52 percent. And the mainland Chinese bourses were also higher by the afternoon on Friday. The Shanghai composite was up over half a percent.
Asian Traders Monitor Tariff Headlines which Boosts Sentiment
China is ready to cut tariffs on U.S. goods by fifty percent. This will be on goods worth $75 billion and will go into effect later today.
Retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. goods will be cut from ten to five percent and other goods from five to 2.5 percent. This is according to China’s Ministry of Finance. This was announced earlier in the month. The ministry did not specify a time zone but said this would happen at 1:10 pm today.
U.S. Retail Sales on the Economic Calendar Today
On the economic calendar, the United States will release both their closely watched retail sales data for the month. The United Sates will also release the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. The University of Michigan inflation report is also on the calendar FOMC monetary policy member Mester will also deliver commentary.
In Europe, the quarterly German gross domestic product is set to be released. Also on the docket is the Italian trade balance and Eurozone flash gross domestic product data.