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Asian Equities Mixed; Yi Gang Named New China Central Bank Chief

Asian equities were mixed in morning trade

Investing.com – Asian equities were mixed in morning trade on Monday. Personnel changes in China’s government and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) gathered attention as Yi Gang, a vice governor of the PBOC, has been nominated to replace Zhou Xiaochuan as the head of the Chinese central bank, according to parliament delegates. Investors’ focus now turns to Jerome Powell’s first meeting as chairman at the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

Trade tensions between China and the U.S. remained in focus after U.S. Treasury official David Malpass said he “misspoke” the U.S. was pulling out of a decade-old formal economic talks with Beijing.

“Secretary Mnuchin has high-level talks with China,” said Malpass, adding that the department has “private” conversations with senior officials in China.

In Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.2% on Friday, while the Dow and the Nasdaq added 0.3% and 0.04% respectively.

Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.9% by ET 9:30PM. The country’s trade recovery continued as exports grew 1.8% y/y in February, roughly in line with the expected 1.9% increase. However, exports to China, the country’s biggest trading partner, fell 9.7% y/y, the trade data showed. Reports that Apple is planning to make its own MicroLED displays for the first time was cited as catalyst for the selling in regional technology shares. The yen strengthened after a nationwide survey suggested a decline in support for Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet.

Meanwhile, China’s February new home prices rose in 44 cities m/m, compared with 52 in January, data showed. Beijing’s new home prices fell 0.3% m/m. The Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component added 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index also gained 0.4%. The city’s richest man Li Ka Shing announced his retirement last Friday. CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd (HK:0001), CK Asset Holdings Ltd (HK:1113) and Power Assets Holdings Ltd (OTC:HGKGY) fell 1.3%, 2.7%, and 1.8% in morning trade on Monday following the news.

Elsewhere, shares of South Korea-listed Hyundai Motor (KS:005380) fell 4.1% after reports that a U.S. regulator said it had opened a probe into the company’s air bags failure following crashes that reportedly killed four people and left six injured.

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