Asian markets rise as China announces plans to help economy

Posted August 15, 2019 11:04 p.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2019 10:54 a.m. EDT

— Asian markets rose on Friday after China announced plans that could help boost consumer spending.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.9%, while China's Shanghai Composite Index went up 0.3%.

China said it would step up its efforts to boost disposable income and stabilize employment. The National Development and Reform Commission announced those plans during a press briefing.

Hong Kong has also taken measures to help avert a recession. On Thursday, the city's government unveiled a stimulus package worth about $19 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.4 billion).

Some companies that trade in Hong Kong and Shanghai also posted strong earnings. Ping An Insurance, China's largest insurer, climbed in Hong Kong after it posted a 68% surge in its first-half net profit. Its Shanghai-traded stock also gained.

Tsingtao Brewery, China's second largest beer maker, soared in Shanghai, after its net profit increased more than 25% for the first half of the year. The Hong Kong-traded shares jumped as well. Its bigger rival China Resources Beer, best known for Snow beer, surged in Hong Kong after posting a 24% increase in net profit for the first half.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 seesawed between small gains and losses and ended barely lower. On Thursday, the index tumbled 2.9%.

Japan's Nikkei ended 0.6% higher after a lower open. South Korea's Kospi declined 0.6% as it reopened Friday, following Thursday's public holiday.

US-China trade tensions continue to be a concern.

On Thursday, China said it would "take necessary countermeasures" after the United States announced earlier this month a new 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods. But a spokeswoman from the foreign ministry later calmed investor fears saying China remains hopeful for an eventual trade deal.