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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks rise ahead of US-China trade talks

Samsung Electronics climbs on September quarter earnings estimates

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan ended higher on Tuesday, helped by optimism over the next round of Sino-American trade talks due to take place in Washington this week.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.8% to 1,255.36 on Tuesday. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 2.4% in Seoul after saying it expects operating profit for the July to September period to come in at 7.7 trillion won ($6.44 billion). Analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting operating profit of 7.1 trillion won for the period.

Global investor focus is on a round of upcoming trade negotiations this week. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Trade Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington on Thursday and Friday. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, China's central bank Governor Yi Gang, and the National Development and Reform Commission's deputy head Ning Jizhe will also be attending.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said there was a "very good chance" of working out a deal with China.

"Markets are trading with a positive tone supported by some newfound trade calm," Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note. "The markets are expecting, at the very least, further tariffs to be deferred."

Still, uncertainty over a trade deal remains. The U.S. Department of Commerce included some of China's artificial intelligence startups to its Entity List on Monday, including video surveillance firm Hikvision and facial recognition technology companies SenseTime Group and Megvii Technology. The Trump administration will curb companies from exporting American-made goods to the companies on the list.

Meanwhile, anti-government protests continued in Hong Kong over the weekend, with activists defying a ban on wearing face masks at demonstrations that was imposed on Saturday. The city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers to impose the ban.

Hong Kong rail operator MTR slipped 0.1%. Train stations in the city were damaged over the weekend after protests turned violent once again, leading to widespread outages for rail links across Hong Kong. Services resumed on Tuesday, but some stations remained closed and the government issued a statement saying all trains other than the Airport Express will stop running at 8 p.m.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing advanced 2.3% after the market operator said it will not pursue its $39 billion bid for London Stock Exchange Group and signaled intent to keep its focus on an existing three-year strategic plan through 2021.

Liquid crystal display panel maker AU Optronics edged 0.1% higher in Taipei despite reporting a 13% decline in September sales.

Malaysian logistics and engineering company MMC Corp. rose 1% in Kuala Lumpur. The company's 70%-owned unit Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas withdrew a 31.86-million-ringgit ($7.60 million) lawsuit against Rising Star Shipping and the Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg) Singapore branch.

Indian financial markets were closed for a local holiday.

--Suzannah Benjamin

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