Asian Shares Advance On Trade Talk Optimism


Asian shares rose on Friday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States and China were "making a lot of progress" in talks and he looked forward to discussions with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He next week, with currency issues also on the agenda.

Separately, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday that the U.S. is "miles and miles" from a trade deal with China but there is a fair chance they will get a deal.

China's Shanghai Composite index inched up 10.03 points or 0.39 percent to 2,601.72 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished up 448.21 points or 1.65 percent at 27,569.19.

Japanese shares hit five-week high as chip-related firms tracked their U.S. peers higher following well-received earnings out of the semiconductor sector.

The Nikkei average rallied 198.93 points or 0.97 percent to 20,773.56, the highest closing level since Dec. 19. The broader Topix index closed 0.87 percent higher at 1,566.10.

Sumco Corp jumped 11.6 percent, Tokyo Electron rallied 4.7 percent and Advantest added 4.9 percent on hopes for a recovery in the global cyclical chip sector. Apple suppliers Murata Manufacturing and Alps Alpine rose 5-6 percent.

Nissan Motor gained 2.5 percent after Renault appointed Michelin boss Jean-Dominique Senard as its new chairman.

On the economic front, a government report showed that overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region rose an annual 0.4 percent in January. That was unchanged from the December reading, although it exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent.

Australian markets rose notably as higher commodities and oil prices helped lift mining and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 climbed 39.90 points or 0.68 percent to 5,905.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 40.60 points or 0.68 percent at 5,971.10.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rose over 1 percent after iron ore prices rallied overnight. Gold miner Evolution Mining rose 1.1 percent and Newcrest advanced 1.7 percent.

Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Beach Energy gained 1-2 percent as oil extended overnight gains.

Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.6 percent and 1 percent while wealth manager AMP slumped nearly 8 percent after reporting a near 97 percent drop in its annual profit.

Medical device maker Resmed plunged 12 percent after its top-line result for the second quarter missed analysts' forecasts.

Seoul markets soared amid a rally in electronic component manufacturers and chipmakers on bets that capacity adjustment from dominant Korean players may help increase demand and boost prices.

The benchmark Kospi jumped 32.70 points or 1.52 percent to 2,177.73. Samsung Electro-Mechanics jumped 10.6 percent, SK Hynix advanced 5.8 percent and Samsung Electronics climbed 4 percent.

New Zealand shares ended little changed, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending up 1.64 points at 9,110.55.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending mixed. The Dow edged down 0.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent.