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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks climb on trade talk, China stimulus hopes

Samsung jumps ahead of foldable smartphone launch

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Thursday, as a confirmation of the next round of Sino-American trade talks boosted investor sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.74% to close at 1,254.48. The U.S. and China are scheduled to hold trade talks in early October in Washington, according to China's Ministry of Commerce. The plans follow days of uncertainty over future trade negotiations after both the countries imposed fresh tariffs on each other's shipments last Sunday.

"Seasoned global investors are still cautious," Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM, wrote in a note. "In order for risk sentiment to push significantly higher, markets will need to be shown material signs that the U.S. and China are indeed drawing closer to a meaningful and lasting trade deal."

Chinese companies listed on the mainland and in Hong Kong rallied amid hopes of monetary policy support. The People's Bank of China will make "timely use" of broad and targeted reserve requirement ratio cuts for banks, the State Council, China's cabinet, said in a meeting on Wednesday.

Hopes for a further reduction have lingered as Sino-American trade tensions take a toll of the Asian nation's economic growth. The PBOC last lowered banks' RRR in January, cutting the ratio by 100 basis points in two stages.

Mainland lenders China Construction Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China rose 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively, in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based property developers that had surged Wednesday on news that the city's Chief Executive withdrew a controversial extradition bill, retreated. Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 2.9% after a 9.8% jump on Wednesday, while New World Development lost 2.8% following a 10.1% advance.

Investors continue to watch political developments in Hong Kong, as the withdrawal of the bill only meets one of the five demands that activists have been calling for over the last several weeks. Protesters are also demanding that authorities cancel the description of the movement as a riot, drop charges against protestors, conduct an independent investigation into police actions during recent clashes, and grant universal suffrage. Pro-democracy activists have said the move to pull the bill was "too little, too late."

Cathay Pacific Airways declined 3.6%. The airline late Wednesday announced that its Chairman John Slosar had resigned to retire. The announcement came less than three weeks after Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg resigned. Hogg's resignation came days after a Chinese regulator issued a safety risk warning to the Hong Kong carrier over its management of staff who had participated in the city's protests.

Samsung Electronics jumped 3.6% in Seoul. The company said its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, will be available in South Korea from Friday with fifth generation mobile connectivity. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that the company is releasing a variant of its Galaxy Note 10 to boost adoption of blockchain.

Kia Motors declined 0.5% even as Kia Motors America reported a 12.7% increase in August sales.

In Taiwan, Apple supplier Largan Precision added 1.3% following a 17.7% increase in August sales.

--Suzannah Benjamin

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