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Asian Shares Hold Steady On Trade Optimism

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Asian stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, although gains remained limited after the release of weak U.S. and Chinese data.

China's Shanghai Composite index traded flat while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged up around 0.1 percent after data showed profits at China's industrial firms declined in annual terms for the third consecutive month in October.

Industrial profits fell an annual 9.9 percent in the month, marking the steepest fall in eight months after a 5.3 percent decline in September amid the fallout from the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

Japan's Nikkei index rose 0.4 percent to extend gains for a fourth consecutive session after reports the government is striving to compile a stimulus spending package worth around 10 trillion yen ($92.05 billion).

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 percent, with financials and resource companies leading the surge after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States and China are close to agreement on the first phase of a trade deal.

Trump said Tuesday that "We're in the final throes of a very deal. I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever."

The comments came after China announced new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights and the Chinese Commerce Ministry said negotiators for both sides had spoken on the phone and agreed to more talks aimed at reaching a deal.

South Korea's Kospi average gained 0.4 percent while New Zealand's S&P/NZX-50 index advanced 0.7 percent.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains overnight to reach fresh record closing highs. The three major averages rose around 0.2 percent as optimism over U.S.-China trade talks offset disappointing consumer confidence and housing data.

European markets ended on a subdued note on Tuesday as investors awaited concrete signals on U.S.-China trade deal.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index eased 0.1 percent. The German DAX slipped 0.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent.

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