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Asian Shares Mostly Higher After ECB Decision

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Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Friday as investors welcomed positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front and a sufficiently dovish ECB rate decision.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would think about an interim deal with China but would prefer a full agreement as the world's two largest economies look to end a widening trade war.

The European Central Bank cut its key interest rate and launched a sweeping package of bond purchases, bolstering expectations the Fed will make a modest quarter-point cut at its meeting next week.

Markets in China, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for public holidays. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 265.06 points or 1 percent to 27,352.69 on growing hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Japanese shares rose sharply to extend recent gains as the safe-haven yen continued to weaken following the ECB rate decision. The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 228.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to 21,988.29, while the broader Topix closed 0.9 percent higher at 1,609.87.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group rallied 3.2 percent and semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest gained 1.5 percent

Yahoo Japan surged 4.9 percent after the subsidiary of SoftBank offered to acquire a 50.1 percent stake in Japan's largest online fashion retailer Zozo for 400 billion yen, or $3.7 billion.

Australian markets gave up some early gains to end modestly higher. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 14.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,669.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 11.40 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,777.10.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1 percent, while ANZ advanced 0.9 percent and NAB added 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, energy stocks ended modestly lower as oil prices extended losses after the IEA's warning of a looming supply glut.

Miners also declined, with shares of Syrah Resources plunging 6.4 percent after the graphite miner flagged a statutory net loss of US$81.4 million for the six-month period ending June 30, 2019.

Gold miner Evolution tumbled 3.4 percent and Newcrest lost 2.8 percent as gold priced edged lower on improved risk appetite.

New Zealand shares edged lower after a report showed the country's manufacturing sector contracted for a second month in August as new orders hit their lowest level in more than 10 years.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 41.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 10,863.41, with energy companies and utilities pacing the declines.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite Index close nearly flat after the country's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged for a second straight policy meeting. On the data front, the country's jobless rate came in at 3.3 percent in July, the same rate as seen in June.

U.S. stocks rose overnight to reach their best closing levels in over a month as traders reacted to conflicting reports regarding an interim U.S.-China trade deal ahead of face-to-face negotiations in the coming weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 gained around 0.3 percent each.

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