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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities gain amid signs of progress in US-China trade talks

China Mobile, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Mobis among gainers in A300

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced Tuesday as investors assessed the latest U.S.-China trade developments and mixed U.S. economic data.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.3% to close at 1,272.49.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview to Fox Business Network on Monday, said there had been progress in deputy level talks between American and Chinese officials last week and high-level discussions will take place in Washington in two weeks. Mnuchin's comments came on the back of two days of talks that concluded last Friday. The U.S. Trade Representative office and the Chinese Commerce Ministry said that the talks were positive.

However, investors had feared that the talks did not end well after a planned U.S. farm visit by Chinese officials was canceled. Those concerns were allayed after Mnuchin clarified at a meeting at the United Nations that the cancellation was at the request of U.S. officials.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Chinese importers bought about 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Monday following last week's talks. A resumption of U.S. agricultural purchases by China was considered a good sign by investors.

On the data front, data released on Monday showed that U.S. flash Markit manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) rose to 51 this month, up from 50.3 in August. Economists had expected the PMI to remain at 50.3. While the manufacturing PMI was better than expected, the services PMI missed forecasts. The U.S. services sector employment index fell below 50 for the first time in almost 10 years.

In movers on the A300 on Tuesday, China Mobile added 0.9%, China Life Insurance slipped 0.4%, and CNOOC closed 0.6% higher.

Hyundai Mobis advanced 3.2% after the South Korean auto-parts maker said it will buy back shares worth 323 billion Korean won ($270 million).

Maruti Suzuki India climbed 1.6%. The Indian carmaker's Chairman told Reuters that sales this month would witness an improvement over August.

Hyundai Motor closed 0.8% higher. The South Korean carmaker said yesterday that it, along with Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis, will form a $4 billion joint venture with Ireland's Aptiv for a self-driving platform.

--Nimesh Vora

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