National Business

Asian shares mostly higher amid renewed trade deal hopes

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2019, file photo traders Daniel Trimble, left, and Timothy Nick work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2019, file photo traders Daniel Trimble, left, and Timothy Nick work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 9. AP Photo

Asian shares were mixed Thursday following broad gains on Wall Street as investors pondered mixed reports on the likelihood of progress in resolving the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to 21,509.54 in early trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost nearly 0.1% to 6,543.40, while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.8% to 2,029.23. India's Sensex skidded 0.4% to 38,050.81.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng picked up 0.2% to 25,726.60. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% to 2,930.35. Shares fell in Singapore and Thailand bur rose in Jakarta.

"Updates on U.S.-China trade keep their grip on markets as we await the commencement of trade talks going into Thursday," says Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

A day after escalating trade tensions led to a sharp sell-off, investors drew encouragement from reports that Beijing signaled it is open to a partial deal. Washington and Beijing are scheduled to begin a 13th round of trade negotiations on Thursday.

But a report by the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post saying that preliminary talks for the meetings did not go well doused some of that enthusiasm.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9% to 2,919.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% to 26,346.01. The Nasdaq picked up 1% to 7,903.74 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 0.5%, to 1,479.46.

Washington and Beijing had held off from further escalating the conflict up until this week, when the U.S. blacklisted a group of Chinese technology companies over alleged human rights violations.

The trade war between the U.S. and China has dragged on for 15 months, inflicting economic damage on both countries. The two sides have raised import duties on billions of dollars of each other's goods, fueling fears their dispute might tip the global economy into recession.

All told, the Trump administration has imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to tax an additional $160 billion of imports on Dec. 15. This would extend U.S. tariffs to just about everything China ships to the United States. China has counterpunched by taxing $120 billion in U.S. exports, notably soybeans and other farm goods.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil fell 11 cents to $52.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 4 cents to $52.59 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 10 cents to $58.22 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was unchanged at 107.46 Japanese yen. The euro also was little changed, at $1.0991, up from $1.0989 on Wednesday.

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