Asian shares rise on optimism over more US-China trade talks

Business
Frank Masiello, Anthony Matesic

FILE – In this Aug. 19, 2019, file photo trader Frank Masiello, left, and specialist Anthony Matesic work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 5. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose Friday as investors cheered plans for more trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing and drew encouragement from positive data about the U.S. economy.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained nearly 0.7% in morning trading to 21,222.86. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5% to 6,647.80. South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.3% to 2,010.15. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.6% to 26,661.47, while the Shanghai Composite inched up nearly 0.1% to 2,987.94.

“Indeed it is a positive sign that meetings will take place at multiple levels,” said Zhu Huani of the Asia & Oceania Treasury Department of Mizuho Bank, referring to the talks between the U.S. and China.

“As limited progress is expected, there will still be many twists and turns along the way and hurdle for more good news is substantially higher. Therefore, we think the rally could be short-lived without more breakthroughs.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 400 points, bond yields jumped and the price of gold fell as investors regained a bigger appetite for riskier holdings.

Markets have been rattled this summer as the longstanding trade war between the U.S. and China escalated. Past rounds of negotiations have failed to yield progress. Even so, news Thursday that envoys from Washington and Beijing plan to hold talks next month elicited fresh optimism on Wall Street that the world’s largest economies may yet find a way to resolve their costly trade war.

Investors have been worried that uncertainty over the conflict and the fallout from tariffs goods imposed by both sides will exacerbate a slowdown in global economic growth and hurt corporate profits.

The S&P 500 gained 38.22 points, or 1.3%, to 2,976. The benchmark index is now 1.7% shy of its most recent all-time high set in late July. The Dow rose 372.68 points, or 1.4%, to 26,728.15. The average was briefly up by 480 points. The Nasdaq climbed 139.95 points, or 1.8%, to 8,116.83. Traders also favored smaller company stocks. The Russell 2000 index picked up 25.99 points, or 1.8%, to 1,510.75.

Negotiations between the world’s largest economies have been tenuous and the trade war has been escalating with expanded tariffs on each other’s products.

The latest escalation kicked in Sunday, with the U.S. imposing 15% tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese imports. Washington is planning to hit another $160 billion on Dec. 15, a move that would extend penalties to almost everything the United States buys from China. Beijing responded by imposing duties of 10% and 5% on a range of American imports.

U.S. tariffs of 25% imposed previously on $250 billion of Chinese goods are due to rise to 30% on Oct. 1.

Positive data about the U.S. economy are also boosting shares. Payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. businesses added 195,000 jobs in August, well above economists’ expectations.

The private report frequently diverges from the government’s own employment report, which is scheduled to be released Friday. Economists expect that report will show 160,000 jobs were added.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that overall productivity rose 2.3% during the second quarter, also beating economists’ growth forecasts.

ENERGY:

Benchmark crude oil edged up 11 cents to $56.41 a barrel. It rose 4 cents to settle at $56.30 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 8 cents to $61.03 a barrel.

CURRENCIES:

The dollar rose to 107.02 Japanese yen from 106.72 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1033 from $1.1059.

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AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed to this report.

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