BANGKOK — Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Wednesday after the U.S. followed through with plans to put higher tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese exports.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4 percent to 22,749.27 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 percent to 2,770.49. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 28,368.84. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 6,275.00 while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,307.59. Shares were mostly higher in Southeast Asia.
WALL STREET: Earnings helped drive the fourth straight day of gains, led by industrial companies and banks. Gains for Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet helped technology companies. Tesla surged after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had invested in the company and CEO Elon Musk later said he might take the company private.
The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,858.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.5 percent to 25,628.91 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 percent, to 7,883.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 0.2 percent to 1,688.30.
TESLA: Musk said he had not made a decision about taking the company private but such a move would make it easier for Tesla to focus on long-term goals. Musk, who owns about 20 percent of Tesla’s stock, said he would pay $420 a share, well above Tesla’s all-time high from September. The stock gained 11 percent to $379.57.
TRADE MOVES: The U.S. Trade Representative announced it will begin imposing 25 percent tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese imports beginning Aug. 23. The list is heavy on industrial products such as steam turbines and iron girders. So far, the tariffs that the U.S. and its trading partners have announced recently are still small and haven’t affected the broader market very much. China reported Wednesday that its exports to the U.S. rose 13.3 percent year-on-year in July while total exports jumped 12.2 percent.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: The announcement on higher U.S. tariffs was a “rude awakening for markets here in Asia,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. The move “brings the U.S. another step closer to the next round of the 10 percent tariffs for a further $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, packing the bite behind the words.”
CHINA TOWER IPO: Shares in the state-owned monopoly that operates China’s vast network of mobile phone towers are flat as the company makes its stock market debut in Hong Kong after raising $6.9 billion from investors. China Tower Corp. was trading at 1.27 Hong Kong dollars (16.2 U.S. cents) per share at midday on Wednesday, little-changed from its initial public offering price of 1.26 Hong Kong dollars (16 U.S. cents). China Tower says it operates 1.9 million cell tower sites across China, the biggest mobile phone market. It has given no indication of plans to expand abroad.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil picked up 14 cents to $69.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 16 cents to $69.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, was flat at $74.65 a barrel.
By ELAINE KURTENBACH , Associated Press