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Asia Markets

April 5, 2019, 12:56 a.m. EDT

Nikkei gains on renewed optimism over U.S.-China trade talks

Samsung warns of big drop in profit; markets in Hong Kong, China closed

By Marketwatch and Associated Press


Bloomberg News
Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it expects to post a 60% decline in first-quarter operating profit.

Shares were mixed in Asia on Friday, with Chinese markets closed for a holiday.

China’s President Xi Jinping said in a letter to President Donald Trump that substantial progress has been made in the trade talks, and called for negotiations to end as soon as possible, according to a report Thursday night by China’s Xinhua News Agency. Xinhua also reported that Vice Premier Liu He, who met with Trump on Thursday in Washington, said new consensus had been reached on the text of a trade agreement. Earlier in the day, Trump said “We have a ways to go, but not very far,” predicting a “monumental” announcement in the coming weeks.

Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   rose 0.3%, while South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721)   was about flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO)   fell 0.8%, and benchmark indexes in Singapore (SES:SG:STI)   and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX)   were mixed. Stock markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan were closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, Sony (TKS:JP:6758)   rose in Tokyo trading, as did Nintendo (TKS:JP:7974)  . Samsung (KRX:KR:005930)   slipped in South Korea, after the tech giant warned it expects first-quarter operating profit to drop 60%, due to soft demand for chips. In Australia, National Australia Bank (ASX:AU:NAB)   and ANZ Banking (ASX:AU:ANZ)   fell.

Overnight, Wall Street had another wobbly day of trading. Modest gains nudged the market’s winning streak to a sixth straight day. Markets have been wobbly throughout the week as investors wait for the U.S. government’s jobs report on Friday and prepare for a new round of corporate earnings reports next week.

New government data on Thursday showing applications for unemployment aid fell last week to a 49-year low likely means Friday’s jobs report will show a strong rebound in hiring after a weak February, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

The S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX)   rose 0.2%, to 2,879.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA)  gained 0.6% to 26,384.63. The Nasdaq (AMERICAN:COMP)   fell 0.1%,to 7,891.78.

Major indexes in Europe finished mostly lower.

The dollar (XTUP:USDJPY)   rose to 111.71 Japanese yen from 111.58 yen.

Benchmark U.S. crude   lost 12 cents to $61.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 0.6% to settle at $62.10 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude  , used to price international oils, shed 12 cents to $69.13 per barrel.

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