Asian stocks rise on report of revived US-China trade talks

Business
Dennis Maguire

FILE – In this Thursday, July 18, 2019, file photo trader Dennis Maguire works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 23. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Wednesday following a report U.S. and Chinese trade envoys will meet for talks next week.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney all advanced.

Investors were encouraged by a Bloomberg News report that U.S. officials including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will visit Beijing for talks. That would be the first face-to-face meeting since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume negotiations aimed at ending a bruising tariff war over U.S. complaints about Chinese technology ambitions.

Markets have welcomed any sign of possible progress on trade despite warnings the U.S.-Chinese truce is fragile because the two sides still are separated by the same disputes that caused talks to founder in May. Those include U.S. restrictions on technology sales to Chinese tech giant Huawei.

“Optimism will grow that this meeting could signal a key turning point in securing a final deal,” said Edward Moya of OANDA in a report.

Investors will be watching “whether we see China deliver some structural reform promises and if the U.S. removes any of the current tariffs on Chinese goods and softens its hard line on Huawei,” said Moya.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 2,933.67 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.5 % to 21,728.04. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1% to 28,745.75 and Seoul’s Kospi was 0.5% lower at 2,098.74.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 6,782.20. New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets declined.

On Wall Street, stocks were broadly higher after major companies reported solid second quarter gains.

The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.7% to 3,005.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose 0.7%, to 27,349.19. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.6% to 8,251.40.

The gains followed several stumbles last week, extending a period of volatility in July as investors weigh a looming possible rate cut by the Federal Reserve as well as uncertainties over trade and the economy.

Nearly 150 companies in the S&P 500 are due to report results through Friday. Analysts are expecting earnings to decline overall for the second quarter in a row.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 21 cents to $56.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 55 cents on Wednesday to close at $56.77. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 17 cents to $63.83 in London. It gained 57 cents in the previous session to $63.83.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 108.14 Japanese yen from Tuesday’s 108.23 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1245 from $1.1150.

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