Asia Shares Mostly Higher on Upbeat Talk on China-U.S. Trade

BANGKOK (AP) -
A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Shares are mostly higher in Asia after President Donald Trump and a senior Chinese envoy said trade talks in Washington were making progress.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 percent to 21,807.50 while the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1-percent higher to 2,209.61. The S&P ASX in Australia dropped 0.8 percent to 6,181.30, while India’s Sensex rose 0.2 percent to 38,776.39. Shares also fell in New Zealand and Indonesia but rose in Singapore and Malaysia.

Overnight, Wall Street had another wobbly day of trading. Modest gains nudged the market’s winning streak to a sixth straight day.

Markets have been wobbly throughout the week as investors wait for the U.S. government’s jobs report on Friday and prepare for a new round of corporate earnings reports next week.

New government data on Thursday showing that applications for unemployment aid fell last week to a 49-year low likely means Friday’s jobs report will show a strong rebound in hiring after a weak February, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,879.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 percent to 26,384.63. The Nasdaq fell 0.1 percent to 7,891.78, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.4 percent to 1,567.49.

Major indexes in Europe finished mostly lower.

Investors are also keeping a close watch on the latest rounds of U.S.-China trade negotiations. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the two sides were “rounding the turn” in the talks, which resumed Wednesday in Washington.

No details were announced but Trump said after meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He that “something monumental” could be announced within weeks.

Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, told Trump that “because of your direct involvement, we do have great progress.”

The dispute over technology policy, involving punitive tariffs imposed by both sides, has rattled markets and cast a pall over the outlook for the global economy.