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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks gain ahead of US and China signing trade deal this week

India's tech giant Infosys jumped 4.8% on better-than-expected profit

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside Japan advanced Monday, beginning on a positive note a week that could see the U.S. and China sign an interim trade agreement.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 1% to 1,428.93.

The two world's largest economies are scheduled to sign a phase-one trade deal this week, a development that will be welcomed by equity investors after months of uncertainty. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Thursday confirmed the visit of top trade negotiator Liu He to Washington this week, while President Donald Trump previously indicated that the deal will be signed on Jan. 15.

The agreement reached in December involved China increasing purchases of U.S. agricultural goods in return for reduction of tariffs on its shipments. According to reports, the deal requires China buying more $200 billion of more U.S. goods and services cumulatively over the next two years than in 2017.

The exact details of the agreement have yet to be made public. The White House said last week that the full text of the deal will be made public after the signing.

Meanwhile, investors analyzed the U.S. jobs report released Friday. The data revealed that U.S. employers added fewer jobs last month than expected and annual wage growth trailed estimates. Economists said the lower-than-expected wage growth reaffirmed current expectations that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to make any changes to interest rates this year.

Chinese companies were among the biggest contributors to the A300 gauge on Monday. An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong added 1.1%.

Electric carmaker BYD surged 15.9% amid receding fears that Chinese subsidies for electric cars will be cut considerably this year. On Saturday, China's minister for industry and information technology reportedly said that subsidies for new-energy car purchases will stabilize this year.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group rose 3.6% after reporting a 2% increase in third-quarter same-store sales for mainland China. The company said same-store sales for Hong Kong and Macau declined 35% during the quarter.

Hengan International Group advanced 3.8% on bets of better earnings.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing climbed 0.6% after the world's biggest contract chipmaker posted an 8.25% quarter-on-quarter increase in sales for the October-December period.

Infosys jumped 4.8% after India's second-largest software company reported December quarter net profit that exceeded expectations of analysts polled by Reuters. The company increased the growth guidance for the current financial year to 10%-10.5% from 9%-10% earlier.

--Nimesh Vora

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