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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks rise as trade talk plans rekindle hopes for US-China deal

ZTE, WH Group among key gainers on A300

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Friday, helped by optimism over Sino-American trade relations after the two countries agreed to resume negotiations next month.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.7% to 1,263.93 on Friday. For the week, the gauge ended 2.4% higher.

Risk sentiment improved this week after China's Ministry of Commerce announced that U.S. and Chinese officials would meet in early October in Washington to discuss bilateral trade. The decision followed a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The latest round of talks is set to mark the first face-to-face meeting between high-level American and Chinese officials since July. Last Sunday, the U.S. and China imposed some fresh tariffs on each other's shipments. The move followed an unexpected announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump in August that Washington would levy fresh tariffs that would cover virtually all goods the U.S. imports from China.

Trade-sensitive Chinese companies advanced, with pork producer WH Group rising 2.4% in Hong Kong and telecommunications equipment maker ZTE surging 8.5%.

Meanwhile, investors await U.S. non-farm payrolls data for August due later Friday for cues on the health of the world's largest economy. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its policy review later this month.

"The sentiment generated by the resumption of trade talks will supersede even a lousy print," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA, wrote in a note.

Hong Kong-based property developers Sun Hung Kai Properties was little changed while New World Development fell 0.6%. The stocks had advanced earlier this week after the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that sparked months of unrest in the former British colony. Sun Hung Kai slumped 16.2% and New World lost 20% over July and August amid worries over the impact of the mass protests on property prices.

The city, meanwhile, is bracing for another weekend of protests as the withdrawal of the bill meets only one of the protestors' five demands, with pro-democracy activists saying the move was "too little, too late."

China Overseas Land & Investment rose 0.4% in Hong Kong after reporting a 10.1% increase in August contracted sales.

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing rose 0.9%. Trading in its derivatives market resumed after being suspended on Thursday afternoon amid software issues. The glitch on HKEX's derivatives system was caused by a software bug, and derivatives trading has resumed with the exchange operator now using an older version of a software program, according to Chief Executive Charles Li.

Dongfeng Motor Group added 1.8% after the Chinese carmaker reported a 2.7% increase in total sales volume for August. France's PSA Group and its Chinese partner Dongfeng have come up with a plan to restructure their joint venture operations, including cost cuts and boosting production, Reuters reported.

SK Holdings edged 0.5% lower in Seoul. The information technology services company on Friday said its unit will sell shares in Hong Kong's China Gas Holdings, according to Reuters.

In Taiwan, Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, ended 0.2% higher after reporting a 0.5% increase in sales for August.

--Lopamudra Bhattacharya

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