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Stock Market

Asian Equities Mixed Ahead of China Trade Data; Trade Talks in Focus

Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Thursday as traders await China trade data and the outcome

Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Thursday as traders await China trade data and the outcome of the latest Sino-U.S. trade negotiations.

The Shanghai Composite was trading near flat while the Shenzhen Component edged up 0.1% by 9:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.6%.

Investor sentiment improved somewhat after U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks are making good progress. “I think it’s going along very well,” Trump told reporters. “They’re showing us tremendous respect.”

In a surprise move, Trump said on Wednesday that he is open to extending the March 1 deadline for a tariff increase, if China and the U.S. get closer to a trade agreement, though there’s little signal so far that an accord is near.

His comments contrasted with earlier comments from the White House that described March 1 as a "hard deadline."

Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people.

"Investors are once again cautiously optimistic that progress will be made and realistically an extension of the tariff deadline will be seen as a good result," said Nick Twidale, chief operating officer at Rakuten Securities, in a Reuters report.

"Longer term, the only evidence of a solid deal going forward will dispel the investor caution and global growth fears that have been such a feature over the last year," Twidale added.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 0.1% higher after government data showed earlier in the day that the country's gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of 1.4% in the October to December period last year.

The 1.4% expansion is in line with analysts’ expectation and followed a revised 2.6% annualised contraction in the July-September period.

The data also showed real exports rose 0.9% in October-December from the previous quarter, which was the fastest gain in a year.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 0.4%, while Australia ASX 200 edged up 0.1%.