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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities rise as Trump comment fuels trade-deal hopes

Alibaba Group extends gains after Hong Kong trading debut

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced Wednesday after President Donald Trump's comments fueled more optimism that a U.S.-China trade deal is in the offing.

The Nikkei Asia300 index added 0.4% to close at 1,325.

Trump told reporters yesterday at the White House that talks were progressing well and the U.S. was "in the final throes of a very important deal." His comments reinforced investor optimism after China's commerce ministry said earlier that top negotiators from China and the U.S. discussed core issues and reached a consensus on how to resolve them.

Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia, said that positivity around the deal has been sustained by Trump's comments, but traders will soon "require something more concrete to continue the celebration."

Increasing hopes of a trade deal between the world's two largest economies helped offset data that showed China's industrial profits declined 9.9% year-on-year in October, worse than the 5.5% fall in the prior month. The data was another indication of the effects of the trade war on China. Investors will get more evidence of how growth is faring in the face of the conflict when the second reading of the third- quarter U.S. GDP is released later in the day.

Among movers on the A300, Alibaba Group Holding advanced 3% on its second day of trading in Hong Kong after rising 6.6% on its debut Tuesday.

Tenaga Nasional climbed 1.2% after the Malaysian electric utility company said Wednesday that third-quarter net profit more than doubled from a year earlier, aided by lower operating expenses.

Hong Leong Bank added 0.2%. The Malaysian lender's net interest income in its first quarter increased about 1% from a year earlier while net profit declined 2.5%.

Malaysia Airports Holdings dropped 2%. The airport manager reported a 10.5% rise in revenue and a 17.5% increase in net profit for the third quarter.

YTL declined 0.6% after first-quarter net profit slumped 88% owing to higher finance costs at cement manufacturing and trading segments.

--Nimesh Vora

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