Asian stocks mostly gain as trade and geopolitical worries ebb
by Admin |
Asian shares traded mostly higher on Friday, with investor confidence improving amid a de-escalation in recent trade and geopolitical tensions.
China March exports in dollar terms declined 2.7 percent on year, missing expectations. Imports in dollar terms rose 14.4 percent, topping the 10 percent rise projected in a Reuters poll. A rare trade deficit of $4.98 billion was posted for the month, Reuters reported.
MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan, meanwhile, held onto gains, last trading higher by 0.08 percent.
The overall improvement in investor confidence came after President Donald Trump's Thursday tweet on Syria, as well as a de-escalation in recent trade tensions.
"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" Trump said in a tweet on Thursday. A Twitter post from the president on Wednesday taunting Russia on Syria saw stock markets decline earlier this week amid concerns over heightened geopolitical tensions.
"Market sentiment remains at the mercy of political rhetoric and ... the theme from the overnight session is that there are encouraging signs of an ease in tensions in Syria along with improved prospects for resolutions in trade tensions," Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a note.
The latest trade-related development comes after recent trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Newly imposed and proposed tariffs from both countries had caused jitters in global stock markets in recent weeks.
Earnings season also kicked off stateside, with Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase among the major banking names reporting on Friday U.S. hours. S&P 500 earnings are forecast to have grown 17.1 percent in the first quarter, according to FactSet.