Asian Shares Mixed Following Wall Street Tech-Led Rally

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian shares were mixed Tuesday after China said its top trade envoy and other senior officials spoke by phone with U.S. negotiators.

The lackluster session followed a surge on Wall Street prompted by China’s new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights. Theft of intellectual property has been a big sticking point in the U.S.-China trade war.

Markets saw the stricter guidelines as an encouraging sign for negotiations on the first phase of a deal aimed at ending the tariff war between the world’s two largest economies.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 0.4% to 23,373.32. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8% to 6,787.50. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.1% to 2,121.35. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.1% to 26,954.85, while the Shanghai Composite was flat at 2,907.06.

“There is renewed hope on some progress of U.S.-China trade talk after China’s state-backed news media (sic) Global Times said that both sides are ‘very close’ to phase one deal,” said Zhu Huani, at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

Still, an announcement by China’s Commerce Ministry early Tuesday that top trade negotiators from both sides spoke by phone and agreed to continue talks did not seem to spur significant gains. That might be because the vaguely worded notice did not mention specifics or indicate how much progress has been made.

The S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 3,133.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7% to 28,066.47, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.3% to 8,632.49. All three indexes set records.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose even more, though it is still below its peak set last year. It surged 2.1%, to 1,621.90.

In the U.S., stocks have been rallying for weeks as worries about a possible recession have faded. A resilient job market, which helps households continue to spend, and three interest-rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve have bolstered confidence.

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