Asia Markets: Asian markets mostly higher, boosted by energy stocks

Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, cheered by prospects for a resolution to the costly trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which had also sent Wall Street indexes higher.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, +1.47%   added 1.5% in morning trading, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.25%  slipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.42%   edged up 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.87%   gained 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, +0.99%   advanced 0.9% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +1.28%   rose 1.1%.

Among individual stocks, oil company Inpex 1605, +13.60%   soared in Tokyo trading after raising its annual profit forecast by 37%, while SoftBank 9984, +5.80%   and Honda 7267, +1.59%   rose as well. Tech and oil stocks rose in Hong Kong, with AAC 2018, +9.35%  , Sunny Optical 2382, +4.12%  , PetroChina 0857, +2.03%   and China Petroleum & Chemical 0386, +2.15%   all advancing. LG Electronics 066570, +0.97%   gained in South Korea while auto maker Hyundai 005380, -3.11%   fell. In Australia, Beach Energy BPT, +5.33%   surged after reporting a nearly 200% rise in profit and an improved guidance.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he might let a March 2 deadline slide in trade talks with China if the two countries get close to a deal. Earlier, the White House had called the date a “hard deadline.”

Both nations are trying to reach a deal before March 1. That’s when additional tariffs will kick in, escalating the conflict and further hurting companies and consumers with higher prices on materials and products.

A pan-Pacific trade dispute is detrimental to the export-dependent Asian region, and a slowdown in growth in China will hurt neighboring economies, such as Japan’s.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.29%   gained 34.93 points, or 1.3%, to 2,744.73. The Dow DJIA, +1.49%   climbed 372.65 points, or 1.5%, to 25,425.76. The index was briefly up by 405 points. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.46%   rose 106.71 points, or 1.5%, to 7,414.62. The Russell 2000 index RUT, +1.27%   of smaller-company stocks, which has been leading the other indexes this year, added 19.25 points, or 1.3%, to 1,538.23.

U.S. benchmark crude CLJ9, +1.05%   rose 50 cents to $53.60 a barrel. It rose 1.3% to settle at $53.10 per barrel in New York. Brent crude LCOJ9, +1.03%  , the standard for international oil prices, gained 53 cents to $62.95 per barrel in London.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.13%   rose to 110.63 yen from 110.50 yen Tuesday.

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