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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities rebound on renewed trade deal optimism

Bharti Airtel falls after announcing $3 billion fundraising

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rebounded on renewed hopes that the U.S. and China could sign a trade deal before the Dec. 15 deadline for new tariffs.

The Nikkei Asia300 index advanced 0.4% to 1,298.49 after losing ground in the previous two sessions.

Asian equities followed their U.S. peers higher in the wake of a Bloomberg report the despite tensions related to the U.S. supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors, Beijing and Washington are moving toward agreeing on the amount of tariffs that would be rolled back as part of an interim deal. The report said President Donald Trump's comments on the previous day shouldn't be understood to mean the ongoing talks were stalling.

On Tuesday, Trump had hurt expectations of an interim deal before the Dec. 15 deadline when more U.S. tariffs on Chinese shipments are scheduled to come into effect. Trump then said that it would be better to wait until after the 2020 U.S. presidential elections to make a trade agreement.

"For equity markets, there is still plenty to play for over the coming days as we near a deal/no deal on the trade war," Robert Carnell, the head of research, Asia Pacific at ING Bank, wrote in a note. "The question (presently) is, not just whether we will get a deal before December 15, which in my view remains a coin-toss. Rather, it is, whether the market has fully priced in any deal or not."

Meanwhile, India's benchmark equity index, the BSE Sensex, closed 0.2% lower. The nation's rate-setting committee earlier Thursday unexpectedly left the key policy rate unchanged at 5.15% despite slowing economic growth. Data released last week showed that India's GDP growth in the September quarter had slowed to more than a six year low.

Among movers on the A300 on Thursday, CNOOC added 1.3%. The Chinese offshore oil explorer said it is in negotiations to sell stakes in two offshore blocks at a basin in Mexico, Reuters reported.

Bharti Airtel dropped 3%. The Indian telecom operator yesterday announced a proposal to raise funds of up to $3 billion via a mix of equity and debt.

Astro Malaysia Holdings fell 1.5%. The media and entertainment company third-quarter net profit increased 12% from a year earlier, but its revenue declined 12%.

--Nimesh Vora

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