By Investors Hub
Asian stocks struggled for direction before finishing mostly higher in cautious trading on Wednesday as investors awaited cues from high-stakes talks between the U.S. and Canada as well as China?s official factory PMI due on Friday.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has arrived in Washington to resume talks about the future of the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement after the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a new trade deal on Monday.
Chinese stocks closed lower after the country?s state planner warned of increased economic risks in the second half of the year and said greater efforts are needed to hit key development goals.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 8.69 points or 0.3 percent to 2,769.29, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched up 64.82 points or 0.2 percent to 28,416.44.
Japanese stocks extended gains for the seventh straight session as technology stocks followed their U.S. peers higher. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 34.75 points or 0.2 percent to 22,848.22, and the broader Topix index closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,739.60.
Tokyo Electron, Sumco Corp. and Advantest Corp. rallied 1-2 percent. Automakers turned in a mixed performance amid the threat of U.S. auto tariffs after the new U.S.-Mexico trade deal proposed levying punitive tariffs of up to 25 percent on imports of Mexican-made cars, sport utility vehicles and auto parts above certain volumes.
Australian shares finished notably higher as easing global trade tensions helped lift financial and material stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 47.50 points or 0.8 percent to 6,352.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 43.40 points or 0.7 percent at 6,457.
The big four banks offering high dividend yields climbed 2-3 percent, and insurers QBE Insurance and Suncorp Group advanced 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Miners also posted broad-based gains, helped by a rise in commodity prices. BHP Billiton rose 1.3 percent to extend gains for a fifth straight session, while South32 rallied 2 percent.
Building materials firm Boral jumped 10 percent after reporting a nearly 50 percent surge in full-year profits.
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia lost 4 percent after it reported a full-year loss that widened from last year on impairments and write-offs.
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