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Asian Stocks Mixed, Futures Edge Higher, As US, China Sign Trade Deal That Won't Eliminate All Tariffs

Neer Varshney

Markets in Asia remain mixed on Thursday as the United States and China signed the long-awaited phase one of the trade deal, the speculations over which have significantly impacted the markets' movement during the past months.

The U.S. futures edged slightly higher after the close on Wednesday.

What Happened

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the 86-page long agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Under the agreement, China has agreed to purchase $200 billion worth additional goods and services from the U.S. by 2021, in particular, agricultural products and energy.

China has also committed to some legal reforms involving intellectual property, and currency devaluation practices, that got it removed from the list of "currency manipulator" earlier in the week.

But the trade deal failed to live up to the optimism, as a majority of the tariffs on the $360 billion Chinese imports will remain at least until phase two of the deal is signed. Trump said earlier that the next phase isn't expected to be signed until after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said that the deal would be "fully enforceable." Still, doubts remain on whether the deal will be executed, as it is on paper, in particular by China.

"It is unclear whether China will interpret it differently than the [U.S.,]" the New York Times noted.

Asia Stocks

China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.31% at 3,080.77, Shenzhen Component was 0.1% down at 1,812.50.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index traded 0.12% higher at 28,806.73.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.14% at 23,950.90 and TOPIX traded 0.05% lower.

South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.13% at 2,333.97. Singapore's Straits Times Index traded 0.25% higher at 3,265.21.

India's SENSEX traded 0.19% lower, while NIFTY 50 was down 0.15.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.6% at 7,036.20. New Zealand's NZX 50 index posted similar gains, trading 0.64% higher at 11,751.69.

US Futures

U.S. futures edged slightly higher late Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.07% at 3,296. Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.09% higher at 9,067.75. Dow Jones futures were up 0.05% at 29,043.

Currencies

The Yuan gained slightly against the U.S. dollar at 6.8848.

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