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Asian Shares Rise On Trade Optimism

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Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday after reports that U.S.-China trade talks will continue in Washington this week.

After five days of negotiations in Beijing, a statement from the White House noted that high level U.S.-China trade talks last week led to "progress between the two parties", but "much work remains."

Chinese shares hit over six-month high after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he might extend the tariff deadline for a deal. Positive bank lending data also bolstered investor confidence in the economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 71.97 points or 2.68 percent to 2,754.36, its highest level since Sept. 28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.60 percent to end at 28,347.01.

Japanese shares hit two-month high as the yen remained little moved on improved risk appetite. The Nikkei average ended the session up 381.22 points or 1.82 percent at 21,281.85 after hitting as high as 21,306.36, its highest since Dec. 18. The broader Topix index closed 24.67 points or 1.56 percent higher at 1,601.96.

China-exposed companies led the surge, with Komatsu, Fanuc and Hitachi Construction Machinery climbing 3-5 percent. Tyre maker Bridgestone Corp jumped almost 5 percent on share buyback news.

On the economic front, the Cabinet Office said that the value of core machine orders in Japan eased 0.1 percent month on month in December, exceeding expectations for a decline of 1.0 percent following a flat reading in November.

Australian shares hit over four-month highs on optimism the U.S. and China would be able to reach a trade agreement before the March 1 deadline.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 23.70 points or 0.39 percent to
6,089.80, paring some earlier gains. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 22.1 points or 0.36 percent at 6,170.70.

Westpac edged up slightly after it flagged higher profit margins in trading. Bank of Queensland slumped 6.3 percent on guidance downgrade.

Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Petroleum rose 1-2 percent as oil prices hit 2019 highs on optimism over OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S.-imposed sanctions on major producers such as Venezuela and Iran.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rose more than 1 percent on hopes of easing trade tensions. Gold miners also ended notably higher after gold prices hit a two-week high.

Health and safety manufacturer Ansell jumped over 4 percent after raising its full-year earnings outlook. Brambles dropped 1.5 percent on reporting a 27 percent decline in first-half profit.

Seoul stocks closed higher as institutional investors turned net buyers amid hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal being reached. The benchmark Kospi gained 14.80 points or 0.67 percent to finish at 2,210.89, led by technology stocks.

New Zealand shares finished marginally lower as investors waited for progress on U.S. China trade talks. Index heavyweight a2 Milk rallied 3.6 percent while Port of Tauranga rose about half a percent after showing strong first-half performance.

Activity in New Zealand's services sector continued to expand in January, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed with a Services PMI score of 56.3, up from 53.2 in December.

U.S. stocks ended mostly higher on Friday amid optimism for a trade deal. The Dow jumped 1.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6 percent to reach their best closing levels in three months while the S&P 500 rallied 1.1 percent to close at a two-month high.

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