Asian markets rise amid uncertainty over US-China trade spat

Asian stock markets rose Monday amid uncertainty about an escalating U.S.-Chinese tariff dispute after President Donald Trump said a settlement was possible but his advisers said other nations might add to pressure on Beijing.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,142.72 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.6 percent to 21,696.73. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.8 percent to 30,393.21 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 5,807.90. Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.6 percent to 2,442.02 and India’s Sensex added 0.5 percent to 33,789.33. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also advanced.

TRADE TENSIONS: Trump said Washington and Beijing can settle their tariff dispute but his new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said a “coalition of the willing” — including Canada, much of Europe and Australia — was being formed to pressure China. Kudlow said while Washington hoped to avoid taking action, Trump “was not bluffing.” Beijing and Washington have threatened to raise tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods. Trump said the U.S. list might be increased by an additional $100 billion of goods, which prompted China’s government to say it would “counterattack with great strength.”

ANALYST’S TAKE: “The trade tariffs cloud looms into the new week following last Friday’s gyrations as President Donald Trump ramped up the tensions with newly proposed tariffs,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. “Despite conciliatory messages put through over the weekend, investors are expected to remain on edge at the start of the week with more to look for from China.”

WALL STREET: Stocks fell on jitters about the possible impact of the tariff dispute on U.S. exporters. Caterpillar, a construction equipment maker, slid 3.5 percent and aircraft manufacturer Boeing lost 3.1 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.3 percent to 23,932.76. It is down 10 percent from its record high in late January. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.2 percent to 2,604.47. The Nasdaq composite slid 2.3 percent to 6,915.11.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 26 cents to $62.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.48 on Friday to close at $62.06. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 27 cents to $67.38 in London. It fell $1.22 the previous session to close at $67.11.

CURRENCY: The dollar was little-changed at 106.96 yen. The euro edged down to $1.2269 from $1.2282.