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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks climb as trade deal hopes linger

Hyundai, Kia, Maruti report October sales

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan advanced Friday, helped by enduring optimism that the U.S. and China are on course to sign a preliminary trade agreement this month.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.7% to 1,315.91. The gauge added 2% for the week.

Increasing indications that the U.S. and China will sign a partial trade agreement this month helped sentiment. President Donald Trump on Thursday said on Twitter that Washington and Beijing were working to find a new site to sign the phase one of a trade deal. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Chile, where the two sides were earlier expected to sign the pact, was canceled amid local social unrest.

"The trade headline damage has seemingly run its course for now," Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note.

Some market participants were less optimistic.

"The U.S.-China truce is not yet on solid ground," Jameel Ahmad, global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM, wrote in a note. "It remains to be seen whether the official signing of the limited trade agreement will actually lead to substantially improved ties between the world's two largest economies."

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 1% on Friday after a private survey showed manufacturing activity in Asia's largest economy expanded more than expected. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 51.7 for October, higher than the 51 reading analysts polled by Reuters were anticipating.

"The manufacturing data appears to highlight the resilience of the Chinese economy amid global trade tensions," FXTM's Ahmad wrote.

The Hang Seng Index, Hong Kong's equity benchmark, ended 0.7% higher even as data late Thursday showed the city slid into a recession in the third quarter. Hong Kong's gross domestic product shrank 3.2% in the July-to-September period from the preceding three months, contracting for a second consecutive quarter.

Lotte Chemical rose 2.4% in Seoul despite reporting a 37.5% decline in third-quarter operating profit.

Hyundai Motor advanced 1.6% even as global sales for October slipped 2.5% from a year earlier.

Kia Motors edged 0.1% lower. The South Korean carmaker reported a 0.8% decline in global sales for last month.

Maruti Suzuki India added 0.8% in Mumbai. The nation's top carmaker reported a 4.5% increase in October vehicle sales on Friday, the first gain in nine months.

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories declined 1%. The Indian drugmaker on Friday reported a consolidated profit of 10.9 billion rupees ($154 million) for the September quarter, up from 5.04 billion rupees a year earlier.

United Overseas Bank fell 1% in Singapore. The city-state's third-largest lender on Friday reported an 8% increase in third-quarter profit. Net interest margin, which is the difference between what a lender charges borrowers and its cost of funds, contracted to 1.77% from 1.81%.

Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group ended unchanged at HK$54.15 in Hong Kong. Data released on Friday showed gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.2% to 26.4 billion patacas ($3.27 billion) in October.

-- Suzannah Benjamin

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