By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mostly higher in early trading Wednesday, after reports that the U.S. and China will soon resume trade negotiations.
A delegation led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will fly to Shanghai for high-level talks next week, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow said China may be prepared to buy more U.S. agricultural products as a “good-will gesture.” Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators have not met in person since talks stalled in early May.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.5% /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.87% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.07% gained about 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.56% advanced 1% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -1.11% was up 1.4%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.04% slipped 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.41% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.27% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.51% were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.14% rose 0.8%.
Among individual stocks, Screen Holdings /zigman2/quotes/200599327/delayed JP:7735 +2.49% and Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.30% rose in Tokyo trading. SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +2.45% also gained after a report that Dish Network /zigman2/quotes/207505872/composite DISH +2.20% has agreed to a $5 billion wireless-asset purchase, clearing the way for the mega-merger between T-Mobile /zigman2/quotes/204659678/composite TMUS +1.41% and Sprint /zigman2/quotes/208685669/composite S +2.05% , which is majority owned by SoftBank. In Hong Kong, Geely Automobile /zigman2/quotes/200716015/delayed HK:175 -2.49% gained, as did Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.23% component suppliers Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +0.87% and AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -0.66% . Apple supplier LG Display /zigman2/quotes/204226570/delayed KR:034220 -0.35% fell in South Korea after announcing a wider-than-expected quarterly operating loss . Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +0.14% and National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB +0.32% rose in Australia
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.
On Wall Street, stocks were broadly higher after major companies reported solid second quarter gains.
The benchmark S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.00% rose 0.7% to 3,005.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.89% also rose 0.7%, to 27,349.19. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.24% 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.
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.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0230% declined to 108.14 Japanese yen from Tuesday’s 108.23 yen.