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Asian Equities Rise on Encouraging US Earnings

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks moved broadly higher on Wednesday, with encouraging U.S. earnings and hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal boosting sentiment.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 5.57 points or 0.2 percent to 2,761.22 after U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters the U.S.-China trade talks are “going very well” and suggested an early March deadline to reach a deal could be postponed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose jumped 285.92 points or 1 percent to finish at 28,514.05.

Trump claimed China is “trying to move fast” so that an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods currently set to take effect does not happen.

Japanese shares hit a nine-week high, with automakers and heavyweight SoftBank Group pacing the gainers despite the release of weak exports data.

Exports in Japan fell the most in more than two years in January as machinery goods orders fell sharply, a government report showed.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 128.84 points or 0.6 percent to 21,431.49, the highest closing level since December 17. The broader Topix closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,613.47.

Honda, Mazda Motor and Toyota Motor rose about 1 percent, while SoftBank shares surged 3.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the Australian markets edged lower even as resource-related stocks gained ground after Fortescue’s half-year profit exceeded expectations.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 10.40 points or 0.2 percent to 6,096.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index edged down 8.40 points or 0.1 percent to 6,175.80.

Supermarket chain Woolworths Group slumped 5.2 percent after it warned of subdued consumer demand.

Likewise, casino operator Crown Resorts tumbled 5.3 percent and fast food giant Domino’s Pizza Enterprise lost over 3 percent after posting disappointing half-year profits.

Shares of Stockland Corp. also dropped 2.4 percent after the property development company reported a 56 percent decrease in its half-year net profit and warned of weaker full-year results.

On the other hand, Fortescue Metals Group jumped 5.4 percent on strong half-year earnings, a surprise special dividend and a positive outlook. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto ended up around 3 percent.

Gold miners Newcrest and Northern Star climbed 2-4 percent after gold prices hit 10-month highs on worries about a global economic slowdown.

In economic news, wage prices in Australia were up a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

That was shy of expectations for an increase of 0.6 percent, which would have been unchanged. On a yearly basis, wage prices advanced 2.3 percent – unchanged and matching forecasts.

Seoul stocks ended higher on hopes for a possible U.S.-China trade deal. The benchmark Kospi jumped 24.13 points or 1.1 percent to 2,229.76, with large-cap stocks such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix leading the surge.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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