Asia Markets: Asian markets little changed ahead of ECB meeting

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Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday following gains on Wall Street and ahead of the European Central Bank’s meeting.

U.S. stocks inched higher Wednesday despite largely disappointing earnings reports, with some experts saying confidence in the Federal Reserve — and in a potential interest-rate cut next week — is aiding the markets’ resilience.

Later Thursday, the ECB is scheduled to convene in President Mario Draghi’s last meeting before his term ends. No policy changes are expected after the ECB launched new stimulus measures just last month.

Investors took a moment to take a deep breath as there were no major developments on two major forces influencing global markets — the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.58%   gained 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.43%   advanced 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.22%   dipped 0.1% while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.38%   slipped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.20%   fell 0.2% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.21%  , Singapore STI, +0.77%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.72%   gained. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.37%   edged up 0.3%, while New Zealand’s NZX-50 NZ50GR, -0.10%   inched up after falling sharply Wednesday following a warning from mining giant Rio Tinto that sparked a selloff.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, -2.53%   fell in Tokyo trading after announcing a takeover of WeWork the day before. Honda 7267, +1.93%   rose, along with Rakuten 4755, +1.25%   and Inpex 1605, +1.60%  . In Hong Kong, AAC 2018, +3.83%   gained, along with food processor WH Group 288, +1.47%   and New World Development 17, +0.55%  . Chip maker SK Hynix 000660, +2.32%   advanced in South Korea despite an 89% year-over-year plunge in third-quarter net profit, which was actually better than analysts feared. Rio Tinto RIO, +1.03%   and Oil Search OSH, +0.84%   gained in Australia. In New Zealand, Meridian Energy MEL, +0.10%  , the nation’s largest company by market cap, was stable after plunging 8% on Wednesday.

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