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Asia: Markets mixed after fluctuating through week


[HONG KONG] Asian markets were mixed on Friday as volatile week drew to a close with investors preparing for the start of the corporate earnings season.

With few fresh developments on the China-US trade talks, the rally that characterised the first three months of the year appears to be running out of steam, while Donald Trump's threats of tariffs against Europe has jolted confidence.

Dealers are also keeping watch on the release later in the day of Chinese trade data, which should provide a new snapshot of how the world's number two economy is performing as the global outlook weakens.

The readings come after a run of positive releases from Beijing including forecast-beating factory activity and a jump in inflation.

"Recent improvements in China activity data... expectations of further feed-through from policy stimulus to the real economy and signs of some partial form of US-China trade truce have all given rise to a more bullish China sentiment," said Jasslyn Yeo, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

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With Wall Street providing a weak lead, Asian equities were mixed in early trade.

Hong Kong, Singapore, Wellington and Manila each dipped 0.1 per cent, while Shanghai was barely moved.

Tokyo finished the morning 0.6 per cent higher while Sydney added 0.6 per cent, Seoul gained 0.2 per cent and Taipei was slightly higher.

The business reporting season gets underway Friday in the United States and observers will be looking for a read of the corporate landscape in the first three months of the year.

The firms' forecasts will be pored over but overall expectations for the quarter are low.


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