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Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of Trade Talks


Asian stocks ended mixed in cautious trading on Monday as investors digested fairly decent monthly jobs data from the U.S. and looked forward to the next round of high-level U.S.-China trade negotiations slated to happen in Washington on October 10-11. Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for public holidays.

Japanese shares started the week modestly lower as exporters fell on a stronger yen amid concerns over the outlook for U.S.-China trade talks.

The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 34.95 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,375.25 on low volume, while the broader Topix closed little changed at 1,572.75. Honda Motor, Canon, Panasonic and Tokyo Electron all fell around 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the Australian markets finished notably higher with almost all sectors closing in the green. Trading volumes were thin amid a public holiday in New South Wales, Canberra, Queensland, and South Australia.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 46.50 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,563.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 49.80 points, or 0.8 percent, at 6,686.70.

Mining heavyweights ended mixed, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group rallied 3.4 percent. Gold miners Evolution Mining and Newcrest surged around 1.5 percent as gold prices ticked up ahead of this week's U.S.-China trade talks.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum and Santos gained around 1 percent after crude oil prices snapped an eight-session losing streak on Friday.

In economic news, a survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the construction sector in Australia continued to contract in September, and at a faster rate, with a seasonally adjusted Performance of Construction Index score of 42.6, down from 44.6 in August.

Seoul stocks ended little changed after reports Chinese officials are reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump. Specifically, Premier Liu He is said to be ruling out commitments to reform Chinese government subsidies or industrial reform.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped half a percent ahead of the release of its preliminary third quarter results on Tuesday. Shares of companies exposed to North Korea also slumped after nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down in Stockholm on Saturday.

New Zealand shares rose in quiet trading, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 82.80 points, or 0.8 percent, at 10,975.62. Dairy processor Fonterra Co-operative Group jumped 5.8 percent after unveiling its new strategy.

On Wall Street, the major averages surged around 1.4 percent on Friday as moderate jobs growth in September offered some relief for the markets following a string of weak economic reports earlier in the week.

The closely watched jobs report showed weaker than expected job growth in September, reinforcing expectations about further interest rate cuts.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to a nearly 50-year low, offsetting concerns about a potential recession.

Investors also cheered Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's comments that the U.S. economy is "in a good place," and that it is the central bank's job to "keep it there as long as possible."

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