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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities rebound as Trump comments spur trade deal hopes

Chinese automakers gain while Samsung falls

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rebounded Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump's latest comments on trade and Huawei Technologies prompted bets that a deal with China could be in the offing.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan advanced 0.4% to end at 1,248.35. Hong Kong-shares of auto companies outperformed to erase a part of their yesterday's losses. Great Wall Motor rose 3.7%, while Guangzhou Automobile Group climbed 1.5%. These stocks had declined 8.8% and 2.6%, respectively, in the previous session. For the week, the Asia300 index fell 0.7%.

The U.S. President, despite calling Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei a security threat, said the dispute with the company could be resolved if a deal was reached and predicted a quick end to the trade war with China. The comments on Thursday offered a ray of hope for investors about a trade pact between the world's two largest economies.

Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G-20 summit in Japan next month.

The U.S. president on Thursday had reportedly called Huawei "very dangerous," just days after his administration banned the company from accessing U.S. technology. The blacklisting of Huawei came after Washington increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

Talks between the two nations have derailed after negotiations earlier this month were unsuccessful.

Michael McCarthy, the chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking, said that both the countries looked reluctant in giving ground to resume talks, and "investors are now pricing a larger drag on global growth."

In other movers on the A300, heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped 2.6%. The South Korean tech major had rallied by 6.4% in the previous four sessions amid bets that Huawei's troubles with the U.S. will boost its prospects.

Petronas Chemicals Group advanced 1.4%. The Malaysian petrochemical company said Friday its net profit fell about 25% in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Genting declined 0.8%. The Malaysian conglomerate's first-quarter net profit fell 6.8% on-year.

Indian stocks ended at record highs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set for a second term after the alliance he leads won a comfortable majority in federal elections. Private lender ICICI Bank jumped 5.1% and engineering major Larsen & Toubro ended 4.6% higher.

--Nimesh Vora

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