Asian stocks rally on hope of further China-US trade talks

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday as traders looked forward to the continuation of trade talks between Chinese and American officials in Washington this week.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.7 percent to 2,212.38 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 1.6 percent to 2,724.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.7 percent higher at 28,359.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 6,089.90.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 1.8 percent to 21,273.16. The country said its core machinery orders dropped 0.1 percent in December from the previous month, beating forecasts of a 1.1 percent decline. Shares rose in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.

After the markets closed on Friday, China and the U.S. announced plans to resume trade negotiations in Washington, fueling hopes that both countries were edging toward a deal.

“We feel we have made headway on very, very important and difficult issues,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi expressed hope for “a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Negotiators had just wrapped up two days of talks in Beijing. Investors were worried about progress on thorny issues like Washington’s unhappiness over Chinese technology and trade policies.

A tariffs truce expires March 2 and will leave the U.S. free to more than double import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods. President Donald Trump has said he may hold off on these if the country was close to a deal with China.

WALL STREET: Optimism surrounding U.S-China trade talks boosted indexes on Friday. The broad S&P 500 index rebounded 1.1 percent to 2,775.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.7 percent to 25,883.25 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.6 percent at 7,472.41. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 1.6 percent to 1,569.25.

ENERGY: U.S. crude added 28 cents to $55.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.18 to settle at $55.59 per barrel in New York on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 2 cents to $66.23 per barrel. It picked up $1.68 to $66.25 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.53 yen from 110.48 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1317 from $1.1293.

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