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Asian Shares Advance On Trade War Relief

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Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday after the Trump administration delayed imposing tariffs on certain Chinese products and removed some products from the tariff list, citing health, safety, national security and other factors.

The boost from the U.S. announcement overnight offset data pointing to a further loss of economic momentum in China.

Chinese shares ended higher as the tariff reprieve from Washington helped investors shrug off weak data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gave up much of its early gains but still closed up 11.66 points or 0.4 percent at 2,808.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up 20.98 points or 0.1 percent to 25,302.28.

China's industrial production and retail sales grew at weaker pace in July, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Industrial output growth eased to 4.8 percent in July from 6.3 percent in June. Output was forecast to expand 6 percent.

Likewise, growth in retail sales slowed to 7.6 percent from 9.8 percent, while the expected pace of growth was 8.6 percent.

During the January to July period, fixed asset investment logged annual growth of 5.7 percent compared to the 5.8 percent increase in January to June. The rate was forecast to remain unchanged.

Japanese shares rose sharply as concerns over the U.S.-China trade war eased and data showed a surprise rebound in Japan's core machinery orders in June.

The total value of core machine orders in Japan jumped a seasonally adjusted 13.9 percent month-on-month in June, the Cabinet Office said in a report. That blew away forecasts for a decline of 1.0 percent following the 7.8 decline in May.

On a yearly basis, core machine orders spiked 12.5 percent - again crushing expectations for a drop of 1.1 percent following the 3.7 percent decline in the previous month.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 199.69 points or 1 percent to 20,655.13, while the broader Topix closed 0.9 percent higher at 1,499.50.

Exporters finished broadly higher as the yen weakened to the 106 against the dollar. Nintendo, which is foraying into the vast Chinese market via a partnership with local gaming champion Tencent, surged up 4.3 percent.

Heavyweights Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group advanced around 1.4 percent, while Fanuc rallied 2 percent. Japan Petroleum soared 8.6 percent and Inpex added 3.5 percent after a surge in crude oil prices overnight.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending modestly higher. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 27.40 points or 0.4 percent to 6,595.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 29.40 points or 0.4 percent at 6,677.50.

Miners bounced back as trade war tensions appeared to be easing. BHP rose 1.1 percent and smaller rival Fortescue Metals soared 4.7 percent. Oil stocks Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Oil Search and Santos climbed 1-2 percent after crude oil prices gained 4 percent overnight.

Biotech major CSL spiked 6.6 percent after reporting its best annual profit and predicting another record profit in 2020. Retirement home operator Aveo Group advanced 5.5 percent after it agreed to be acquired by Brookfield Asset Management for A$1.27 billion.

Meanwhile, gold miners succumbed to heavy selling pressure as gold prices dropped from a six-year high on easing U.S.-China trade tensions. Evolution Mining slumped 4.4 percent and Newcrest gave up 2.2 percent.

Lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia lost 3.6 percent on going ex-dividend. National Australia Bank finished marginally lower after posting flat quarterly profit.

Australia's consumer confidence strengthened in August, survey data from Westpac showed today. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose to 100 in August from 96.5 in July.

Seoul stocks gave up some early gains as China's key economic indicators for July painted a lackluster picture of the world's second largest economy.

The benchmark Kospi rallied nearly 1.4 percent in early trading before ending the session up 12.54 points or 0.7 percent at 1,938.37.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end marginally lower after the release of Chinese data.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rallied after President Trump said he is delaying some tariffs on Chinese imports ahead of the Christmas season.

U.S. consumer prices increased broadly in July but that didn't change market expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again next month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2 percent and the S&P 500 surged up 1.5 percent.

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