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Asian stocks gain as investors weigh trade deal prospects

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea jump in Mumbai after price-increase plan

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced Tuesday as investors considered the prospects of a trade deal between the U.S. and China.

The Nikkei Asia300 index of companies outside Japan rose 0.6% to 1,332.94.

Investors in Asia had to contend with a CNBC report that the mood in China about a trade deal with the U.S. was pessimistic on account of U.S. President Donald Trump's reluctance to roll back existing tariffs. The report, citing a source, said there were disagreements over specific number of agricultural purchases. Expectations surrounding an interim trade deal were tempered last week after Trump said he had not decided anything on the removal of tariffs, a key demand of China.

Stephen Innes, the chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said equities around the world "remained hostage" to trade developments and investors will be worried whether the rollback of tariffs was off the table.

Meanwhile, in more positive news, U.S. on Monday approved another three-month extension for American companies to do business with China's Huawei Technologies.

In movers on the A300 on Tuesday, energy-related shares came under pressure after Brent crude fell by the most in one-and-a-half weeks on Monday. CNOOC shed 0.3%, and PTT Exploration and Production declined 1.2%.

Bharti Airtel jumped 7.4% and Vodafone Idea surged nearly 35% in Mumbai. Both Indian telecom operators said on Monday they will increase tariffs from next month.

Want Want China advanced 4.5%. The Chinese snack maker said Tuesday that net profit for the six months ended Sept. 30 rose 18.4% thanks to higher revenue and an increase in gross profit margin.

Hong Kong equities continued to rebound from last week's losses. The city's benchmark equity index added 1.55% to Monday's 1.3% advance after falling 4.8% last week.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam reportedly said Tuesday that she hoped that the standoff between protesters and police at a university could be resolved peacefully. A number of protesters remain trapped inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in a standoff with police that is entering its third day.

--Nimesh Vora

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