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Asian Markets Rise On Trade Optimism

asiancommentary aug17 10oct19 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Friday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid optimism about U.S.-China trade talks. U.S. President Donald Trump revealed he plans to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He later today, raising hopes that the two countries would reach a deal to end their protracted trade war.

The Australian market is rising amid optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 50.60 points or 0.77 percent to 6,597.70, after rising to a high of 6,614.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 51.60 points or 0.79 percent to 6,598.70. Australian stocks fluctuated before finishing on a flat note on Thursday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 3 percent each, while BHP Billiton is rising more than 2 percent.

The big four banks - National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac - are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.0 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices gained overnight. Santos is advancing almost 1 percent, while Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are higher by 0.7 percent each.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are weak after gold prices drifted lower overnight. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are declining more than 1 percent each.

Michael Hill International reported a 11.9 percent increase in same-store sales for the first quarter compared to the prior year, while its Australian same-store sales rose 6.8 percent. The jeweler's shares are gaining almost 16 percent.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC has failed in its legal action against TPG Telecom as the federal court found that the company did not unfairly charge customers a non-refundable bond. Shares of TPG Telecom are advancing almost 1 percent.

IOOF Holdings said it has sold its 52.4 percent equity stake in domestic fund manager Perennial Value Management, as it intends to focus on its core wealth management business. The company's shares are adding 0.5 percent.

Shares of Retail Food Group are in a trading halt ahead of a potential A$150 million capital raise.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6761, up from $0.6746 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is advancing and the safe-haven yen weakened following the positive cues from Wall Street amid optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 179.82 points or 0.83 percent to 21,731.80, after touching a high of 21,749.93 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker safe-haven yen. Panasonic, Canon and Sony are advancing more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.6 percent.

In the auto sector, Honda Motor is advancing almost 2 percent and Toyota Motor is rising more than 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is down 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is rising almost 3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is rising more than 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is higher by more than 1 percent after crude oil prices gained overnight.

In the tech space, Advantest is declining more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is up 0.2 percent.

Lawson said Wednesday it will close around 100 stores, representing less than 1 percent of its nationwide network of more than 14,000 stores, on January 1, 2020, amid Japan's labor shortage. The convenience store chain operator's shares are advancing more than 2 percent.

Seven & i Holdings said it will cut about 3,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2022 and also close two Seibu as well as three Sogo locations, as part of a major restructuring plan. The retailer's shares are gaining almost 6 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Kajima Corp. is rising almost 2 percent and Taisei Corp. is advancing more than 1 percent.

On the flip side, Yaskawa Electric is declining more than 2 percent, while Toho Co. and NEC Corp. are losing almost 2 percent each.

On the economic front, Japan will provide September numbers for money stocks today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 108 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is rising more than 1 percent and South Korea is advancing almost 1 percent. Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher. Shanghai is edging lower, while the markets in Taiwan remain closed for a public holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks extended gains on Thursday from the previous session after U.S. President Donald Trump revealed he plans to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He as part of high-level U.S.-China trade talks. The tweet from Trump offset concerns generated by reports suggesting Liu could leave Washington earlier than originally planned.

The Dow climbed 150.66 points or 0.6 percent to 26,496.67, the Nasdaq advanced 47.04 points or 0.6 percent to 7,950.78 and the S&P 500 rose 18.73 points or 0.6 percent to 2,938.13.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Thursday as OPEC said that it has all options in place to balance oil markets and that it would take a decision in December regarding supply. WTI crude for November delivery rose $0.96 or about 1.8 percent to $53.55 a barrel.

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