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Asian Shares Rebound As Trade Fears Ease


Asian stocks rebounded on Tuesday amid receding worries about a trade war as U.S. President Donald Trump faced mounting pressure from political allies to reconsider his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged Trump to rethink the planned tariffs on steel and aluminum as confusion persisted about the timing and extent of the planned tariffs.

Trump indicated that the tariffs would be removed if the U.S. negotiates a "new & fair" NAFTA agreement.

Chinese stocks posted strong gains after reports that China's securities regulator is considering giving Chinese investors access to offshore-listed tech companies via depositary receipts.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index closed 33.25 points or 1 percent higher at 3,290.17, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged up 624.34 points or 2.09 percent to 30,510.73.

Japanese shares snapped a four-day losing streak as the yen weakened on improved risk appetite amid easing concerns about a global trade war.

The Nikkei average jumped 375.67 points or 1.79 percent to 21,417.76 after hitting a near five-month low on Monday. The broader Topix index closed 1.27 percent higher at 1,716.30.

The dollar's bounce lifted exporters, with Honda Motor, Sony, Panasonic, Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor rising 1-3 percent. Among steel makers, Japan Steel Works surged as much as 9 percent, Nippon Steel rose 1 percent and JFE Holdings advanced 1.2 percent. Oil firms Inpex Corp and Japan Petroleum rallied 2-3 percent.

Australian shares rebounded from four days of declines, with material companies and energy stocks pacing the gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 67.40 points or 1.14 percent to 5,962.40 as Australia's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low, as widely expected, saying the low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 65.10 points or 1.09 percent at 6,061.50.

Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Santos and Beach Energy jumped 2-4 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight amid reports that Libya is suffering supply interruptions.

Mining heavyweight BHP Billiton rallied 2.1 percent, Rio Tinto rose half a percent and smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.3 percent. Gold miners Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining ended up more than 1 percent.

News Corp and Telstra rose over 2 percent as they signed definitive agreements to combine Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia into a single company by the end of June.

In economic releases, both current account data for the fourth quarter of 2017 and retail sales figures for January missed expectations while a gauge of Australia's consumer confidence improved for the second straight time during the week ended March 4, separate reports showed.

Seoul stocks rallied as investors lapped up technology shares after recent declines. The benchmark Kospi jumped 36.35 points or 1.53 percent to 2,411.41, with Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rising 4-5 percent.

South Korea had a current account surplus of $2.68 billion in January, the Bank of Korea said today. That followed the $4.09 billion surplus in December. The goods account surplus widened slightly to $8.11 billion compared to the $7.73 billion surplus for January 2017.

New Zealand shares joined a global rally as trade war worries eased. The benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index rose 47.83 points or 0.58 percent to 8,327.66, with Freightways, Mainfreight and Chorus rising 2-3 percent.

The Taiwan Weighted rose 1.3 percent after preliminary data showed Taiwan's industrial production growth quickened at a faster-than-expected pace in January.

India's Sensex and Malaysia's KLSE Composite index were up around 0.2 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was rallying 1.5 percent while Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was declining half a percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks bounced back from early losses to end sharply higher even as President Donald Trump took to twitter again to defend the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 percent to snap a four-session losing streak, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.1 percent.

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