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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks rise as US-China trade deal optimism builds

Doosan Heavy Industries plunges after announcing share issue

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Friday to end the week higher amid optimism over the ongoing Sino-American trade talks in Washington.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.3% to 1,315.92 on Friday. For the week, the gauge advanced 2.7%.

Chinese officials are meeting U.S. trade officials in Washington this week following a round of negotiations in Beijing last week. Investors are watching for signs that the two nations may be nearing a resolution to their differences ahead of a March 1 trade war truce deadline. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has expressed his willingness to extend the deadline, is expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday at the White House.

China is proposing buying an additional $30 billion a year in U.S. agricultural products as part of a possible trade deal being negotiated, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the plan.

Separately, Trump on Twitter said he wants "5G and even 6G technology in the United States as soon as possible," adding that he wants the U.S. "to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies."

"The apparent olive branch ... shows that the U.S. president also recognizes the value in a positive announcement on the trade war," Robert Carnell, the chief economist and head of research for Asia Pacific at ING, wrote in a note. "This is all good. It supports (rather than drives higher) risk assets. The risk is now all on the downside in case the prospects of a deal flounder."

Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE jumped 12.8% in Hong Kong. The company plans to unveil its first 5G device on Feb. 25 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to a report in state-affiliated media.

South Korean conglomerate Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction slid 8.8% in Seoul after announcing a plan to issue new shares worth 608 billion won ($540 million). The company said it will buy 300 billion-won in new shares issued by unit Doosan Engineering & Construction.

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories rose 2% in Mumbai after saying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's audit of its Shreveport, Louisiana plant in the U.S. was completed without any observations.

Lenovo Group jumped 4.9% to HK$7, extending an 11.9% surge on Thursday after the personal computer maker swung to a profit in the December quarter. Daiwa Capital Markets upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "hold" and raised its price target to HK$7.60 from HK$5.60.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. fell 1.6% after the second-largest of Singapore's three big banking groups posted an 11% drop in its December quarter net profit.

Singapore's United Overseas Bank ended 1.5% lower despite reporting a 7% increase in fourth-quarter profit.

--Suzannah Benjamin

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