TOKYO—Jan 25, 2019—Asian shares advanced Friday after a moderate rise on Wall Street, amid persisting optimism over the potential for China-U.S. trade talks to help end a tariffs war between the two largest economies.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.0 percent to finish at 20,773.56. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7 percent to 5,905.60, while South Korea’s Kospi was surged 1.4 percent to 2,175.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.5 percent to 27,516.80, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.8 percent to 2,611.56.
Shares also rose in Taiwan, Southeast Asia and India, where the Sensex gained 0.6 percent to 36,394.32.
WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index edged 0.1 percent higher to 2,642.33. The benchmark U.S. index is up 12.4 percent over the last month, but has slipped 1.1 percent this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 percent to 24,553.24. About two-thirds of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange closed with gains, but major stock indexes didn’t move much. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.7 percent to 7,073.46. The Russell 2000 of small-company stocks gained 0.7 percent to 1,464.41.
CHINA-US TRADE: Mixed messages on China-U.S. trade, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying the two sides are still “miles and miles from getting a resolution” as they prepare for talks next week in Washington. But Ross told CNBC in an interview that he believed a deal was possible, and that a very large delegation of Chinese officials, led by Vice Premier Liu He, was headed to the U.S. capital for the talks.
ANALYST’S TAKE: Regarding trade talks, “the takeaway here remains the fact that we would likely continue to find headlines surrounding the issue prior and through the meeting to keep one guessing on the outcome,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
“The latest episode, seemingly taken with a pinch of salt as posturing, appears to have kept the damage to a minimum.”
INTEREST RATES: The European Central Bank did not change its interest rates or its projection for when it might start raising them.
European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said risks to the European economy are increasing and the bank is ready to “adjust all of its instruments” if it runs into serious trouble. The ECB is aiming to raise rates even though the European economy has cooled as countries including Germany have lost some strength.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil added 67 cents to $53.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1 percent to $53.13 per barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 67 cents to $61.76 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 109.82 yen from 109.53 yen. The euro fell to $1.1320 from $1.1389.