By Associated Press and Marketwatch
Asian stocks climbed Monday, with China stocks hitting their best level in nine months, after news reports said Washington and Beijing are close to reaching an agreement as early as this month to end their costly tariff war.
Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul advanced after Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said China was offering to ease tariffs and other restrictions on U.S. farm, chemical, auto and other products. They said Washington would remove most sanctions on Chinese imports.
A deal might be completed in time to be signed by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this month, the reports said. But they cautioned the two sides still were negotiating on the issue that sparked the dispute: Chinese plans for state-led creation of global technology competitors that Washington, Europe and other trading partners say violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.
The battle between the two biggest global economies has rattled global financial markets for months. Investors worry it will weigh on global economic growth that already is showing signs of slowing.
“Speculation that both the U.S. and China are close to signing a deal will keep market players slightly upbeat,” Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal of ING said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.40% closed up 1.1% to 3,027.58, its highest level since mid-June, and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.22% surged 2.2%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.74% added 1%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.66% advanced 0.5%, but Seoul’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.43% slipped 0.2%. Sydney’s S&P-ASX /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.12% gained 0.4%. New Zealand /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.46% and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +1.64% advanced while Taiwan retreated.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +0.87% , e-commerce company Rakuten /zigman2/quotes/201861450/delayed JP:4755 -1.71% and robotics maker Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 +1.66% rose in Tokyo trading. AAC Technologies /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +3.95% and Ping An Insurance /zigman2/quotes/210315058/delayed HK:2318 +0.99% gained in Hong Kong, while Hang Seng Bank /zigman2/quotes/201710108/delayed HK:11 +8.45% fell. LG Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 +1.29% advanced in Korea while Hyundai Motor /zigman2/quotes/206684590/delayed KR:005380 +2.30% sank. Mining companies Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +0.20% and Fortescue Metals /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -0.41% gained in Australia
Investors are watching this week’s session of China’s ceremonial national legislature for announcements of official policy on exchange rate policy, trade, industrial policy and possible economic stimulus.
The legislature is due to endorse a law that would address one portion of foreign complaints about Beijing’s regulation system by discouraging officials from pressuring companies to hand over technology.
Forecasters expect the government to announce an annual growth target of at least 6%. Few major changes are expected, but economists expect more government spending to shore up cooling growth.
Health care and technology companies helped lift U.S. stocks Friday, breaking a three-day losing streak for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and giving the benchmark index its fifth straight weekly gain. The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +2.62% climbed 0.7% to 2,803.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +3.15% rose 0.4% to 26,026.32. The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +2.06% gained 0.8 percent to 7,595.35.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 45 cents to $56.25 per barrel in electronics trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.40 on Friday to $55.80. Brent crude , used to price international oils, added 62 cents to $65.69 per barrel in London. It lost $1.24 the previous session to $65.07.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.4260% rose to 111.84 yen from Friday’s 111.92 yen.