By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Nikkei, Hang Seng up as Trump says negotiations 'going very well'
Asian markets gained in early trading Friday amid optimism over U.S.-China trade talks, which headed into their second day in Washington.
Despite low expectations going into the first face-to-face high-level negotiations since July, hopes rose that a limited trade deal could be agreed upon after Thursday first day of meetings. "We're doing very well ... We're going to see them tomorrow, right here, and it's going very well," President Donald Trump told reporters outside the White House.
Trump is scheduled to meet Vice Premier Liu He, China's lead trade negotiator, on Friday after the talks wrap up. Analysts are hopeful that enough progress will be made for Trump to put off tariff hikes on $250 billion of Chinese imports scheduled to go into effect next week.
"Investors are starting to believe there is light at the end of the trade-war tunnel," Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note.
Japan's Nikkei rose 1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.3%. The Shanghai Composite was about flat while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite slipped 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8%, and benchmark indexes in Malaysia , Singapore and Indonesia rose slightly. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.6%. Taiwan's Taiex remained closed for a holiday.
Among individual stocks, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing surged in Tokyo trading after reporting record profit (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fast-retailing-results/fast-retailing-books-record-profit-says-south-korea-boycott-curbs-outlook-idUSKBN1WP0M2) for the third straight fiscal year. Honda and oil producer Inpex also rose. In Hong Kong, national oil company CNOOC gained, as did tech giant Tencent and property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties . Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) advanced in South Korea, while mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto gained in Australia.