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Asia shares gain on optimism over US-China trade talks

Asia shares gain on optimism over US-China trade talks

Asian shares saw gains on Monday in morning session amid hope of progress at Sino-US trade talks in Washington this week after high-level meetings in Beijing concluded on Friday.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.84% to hit its highest for the year so far, while Topix Index added 1.59%. Shares of Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of apparel stores, gained more than 3.5%.

Meanwhile, the Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.80% as industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics saw its stock gain 1.09%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 0.38% in morning trade as most sectors saw gains. The heavily-weighted financial subindex rose more than 0.3% as shares of the county's so-called Big Four banks advanced.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 0.3%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 0.25%, Westpac climbed up by 0.44% and National Australia Bank added 0.45%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 1.58%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.65%.

In the US, the Dow and the Nasdaq registered their eighth consecutive weekly gains on Friday on wagers the US and China would hammer out an agreement resolving their protracted trade war.

The two sides will resume negotiations this week with US President Donald Trump saying he may extend a 1 March deadline for a deal.

Investors are also expecting more reflationary policies from some of the world’s more powerful central banks. Last week, data showed China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January as policymakers tried to jumpstart sluggish investment.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting are due on Wednesday and should provide more guidance on the likelihood or not for rate hikes this year.

In commodity markets, spot gold was steady at $1,320.65 per ounce. Oil prices were at their highest for the year so far this year after an outage at Saudi Arabia’s offshore oilfield boosted expectations for tightening supply.

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