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Asia Shares Mostly Higher; Alibaba Soars on Hong Kong Debut

James Hyerczyk

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Tuesday, but mostly higher. Shares were unpinned by optimism over a possible trade deal between the United States and China. Strong performances on Wall Street on Monday also generated some upside momentum. The debut of Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba on the Hong Kong exchange also led to the positive tone in the market.

In the cash market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23373.32, up 80.51 or +0.35%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26913.92, down 79.12 or -0.29%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2121.35, down 2.15 or -0.10%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2907.06, up 0.89 or +0.03% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6787.50, up 56.10 or +0.83%.

Trade Deal Update

Shares were underpinned by comments from the United States and China that kept alive hopes that the two economic powerhouses would soon agree to a deal that would end their trade war.

According to reports, top trade negotiators from China and the United States held a phone call on Tuesday morning, China’s Commerce Ministry said, as the two sides try to hammer out a preliminary “phase one” deal in a trade war that has dragged on for 16 months.

China and the United States are “moving closer to agreeing” on a “phase one” trade deal, the Global Times – a tabloid run by the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily- reported earlier.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong Shares Rise 6.6% on Debut in Heavy Volume

Alibaba Group’s Hong Kong shares closed their first trading session up 6.6% from the issue price after this year’s largest stock sale.

Shares worth HK$13.99 billion ($1.78 billion) were traded, according to Refintiv data, making it the third biggest debut on record for the Hong Kong market.

Alibaba is already the fifth most-traded company in New York this year, averaging $2.6 billion a day, Refinitiv data showed.

The Chinese e-commerce giant raised at least $11.3 billion from its secondary listing, which has been seen as a vote of confidence in Hong Kong’s financial future amid six months of increasingly violent anti-government protests.

The funds raised from the Hong Kong listing will help Alibaba, Asia’s biggest company by market value and world’s seventh largest, invest more in a range of online services.

Australia’s Westpac Banking CEO Steps Down

Australia’s Westpac Banking said on Tuesday its CEO will step down and its chairman will bring forward his retirement as a money-laundering scandal rocks the country’s second-largest retail bank.

Westpac’s shares edged up 1.2% in early trade on Tuesday, having slumped 8% over the previous four trading days since the regulator announced its lawsuit, wiping A$7.5 billion off the bank’s market capitalization.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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