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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities edge higher on optimism over US-China trade talks

China Mengniu Dairy, CITIC, AirAsia among key movers on A300

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan edged higher on Thursday amid optimism over dialogue between the U.S. and China related to their trade dispute.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan ended 0.13% higher at 1,218.63.

China and the U.S. are discussing face-to-face trade talks that were scheduled to be held in the U.S. in September, Reuters reported, citing China's commerce ministry.

Both the sides "should create conditions" for progress in negotiations, Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman told reporters during a weekly briefing, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remarked yesterday that he expects Chinese officials to visit Washington. However, he did not say whether next month's planned meeting would take place, according to a Bloomberg report.

In movers on the A300, China Mengniu Dairy fell 5.8% after its first-half earnings. The company late Wednesday reported a 33% jump in profit for the six months ended Jun. 30 and a 15.6% increase in revenue. Daiwa Capital Markets said the earnings were not driven by quality, calling the report a "slight miss" at the operational level.

CITIC advanced 1.9% after the Hong Kong-listed financial-services-to-real-estate conglomerate said net profit for the first half of 2019 rose 9.3%, driven by higher contribution from financial services and special steel businesses.

China Construction Bank slid 0.5% and Dongfeng Motor Group fell 2.6%. CCB reported a 5% increase in first-half net profit, while Dongfeng Motor earlier in the day reported a 5.3% increase.

Air China slipped 0.3% following a 9.5% fall in first-half net income, while China Vanke closed 2% lower. Vanke's peer China Evergrande tumbled 5.9% after the property developer's first-half net profit plunged 51.6% on-year.

Axiata Group closed 0.6% higher after the Malaysian telecom operator reported a net profit for the June quarter compared with a loss a year ago on the back of strong growth in overseas markets.

Malayan Banking climbed 0.5% despite Malaysia's largest lender by assets reporting a 1% fall in June quarter net profit. AirAsia fell 2.8% after the Malaysia-listed airline's April-June net profit plunged 95% on-year.

--Nimesh Vora

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