Asian shares rally on hopes for China-US trade breakthrough

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.3 percent to 20,472.79 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.5 percent to 26,512.06


BANGKOK: Shares extended gains in Asia on hopes for progress in resolving the tariffs battle between the U.S. and China as talks appeared to have been extended in Beijing.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.3 percent to 20,472.79 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.5 percent to 26,512.06. The Shanghai Composite index surged 1.6 percent to 2,566.66 while South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.9 percent to 2,062.64. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 surged 0.9 percent to 5,775.20. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

CHINA-US TRADE: President Donald Trump tweeted that “Talks with China are going very well!” as news reports said trade negotiations would be extended to a third day, a potentially positive sign even though no major developments have been announced so far. Experts say it may take months to resolve the causes of the trade war, which include disagreements over Beijing’s handling of technology and intellectual property.

US SHUTDOWN: President Donald Trump’s televised address Tuesday night helped soothe frazzled nerves over what steps he might take in the standoff with lawmakers over border wall funding, which has resulted in a partial government shutdown. Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats.

WALL STREET: Optimism over trade propelled shares to their third straight session of gains Tuesday, the longest winning streak for U.S. indexes since late November. The S&P 500 index rose 1 percent to 2,574.41. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 1.1 percent to 23,787.45 and the Nasdaq composite also gained 1.1 percent, to 6,897. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 1.5 percent, to 1,426.55.

ENERGY: Oil prices also continued to rally. U.S. crude rose 80 cents to $50.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It has risen for eight of the past nine days and gained 2.6 percent to $49.78 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 79 cents to $59.51 per barrel. It gained 2.4 percent to $58.72 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar climbed to 108.91 yen from 108.75 yen. The euro rose $1.1454 from $1.1442.