Asia Markets: Asian markets gain as investors pin hopes on U.S.-China trade talks

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Asian stocks rose Tuesday following a listless day on Wall Street as investors looked ahead to U.S.-Chinese trade talks.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +2.64%   rose 2.6% and the Shanghai Composite Exchange SHCOMP, +0.72%   added 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.16%   was 0.2% higher and Seoul’s Kospi SEU, +0.48%   gained 0.4%. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 XJO, +0.40%   advanced 0.4% and New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.77%  , Taiwan Y9999, +0.82%   and Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.20%   also rose.

Among individual stocks, Toyota 7203, +2.31%   and Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing 9983, +3.22%   rose in Tokyo trading. Tech stocks surged in South Korea, with Samsung 005930, +2.33%  , SK Hynix 000660, +2.83%   and LG Electronics 066570, +4.04%   advancing. CSPC Pharmaceutical 1093, +5.30%   and Sino Biopharmaceutical 2922, +4.92%   surged in Hong Kong, while bank stocks continued to rise in Australia.

On Wall Street, gains for industrial companies, banks and energy stocks outweighed losses elsewhere. Small-company stocks fared better as investors shifted focus away from the tail end of a strong corporate earnings season to U.S.-Chinese trade talks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.21%   fell 0.2% to 25,053.11. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.07%   rose 0.1% to 2,709.80. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.13%   added 0.1% to 7,307.90.

Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin will lead a delegation to Beijing on Thursday for talks aimed at resolving a tariff war over American complaints about Chinese technology ambitions. The dispute threatens to chill global economic growth. The talks are the last scheduled high-level meeting before an agreement by both sides to suspend further punitive action against each other’s goods expires March 1.

Traders were watching negotiations in Washington aimed at averting another government shutdown. Democrats and the GOP said Monday night they had reached an agreement in principle over border security funding, but it was unclear if President Donald Trump would sign it. A Friday midnight deadline is looming to prevent a second partial government shutdown.

“U.S. equities struggled to establish clear direction as concerns about progress of trade talk and U.S. government shutdown looms in the background,” said Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank in a report. “Investor sentiment remains cautious despite report suggesting that President Trump’s advisers are discussing a potential summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month.”

Fears of a global slowdown were given additional fuel from a report showing Britain’s economy had its slowest economic growth since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Both Europe overall and China are contending with slower growth.

Benchmark U.S. crude CLJ9, +0.68%   gained 40 cents to $52.81 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 31 cents on Monday to close at $52.41. Brent crude LCOJ9, +0.75%  , used to price international oils, rose 49 cents in London to $62.00. It shed 59 cents the previous session to $61.51.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.19%   gained to 110.47 yen from Monday’s 110.36 yen.

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