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Asian shares higher as region eyes Trump-Kim summit

News Agencies | Updated on: 27 February 2019, 9:40 IST

Asian shares were higher in muted trading Wednesday as investors watch the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 per cent in early trading to 21,550.02. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 per cent to 6,148.70. South Korea's Kospi edged up nearly 0.2 per cent to 2,230.37.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent to 28,909.38, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.9 per cent to 2,966.84.

Kim and Trump both arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday and their Hanoi meetings get underway later in the day Wednesday.

The two leaders first met last June in Singapore, a summit that was long on historic pageantry but short in any enforceable agreements for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Trump and Kim are to have a private dinner Wednesday evening and discussions on Thursday in hopes of building on an aspirational agreement they made in Singapore.

US stock indexes capped a day of wobbly trading with slight losses Tuesday, erasing some of their modest gains from a day earlier.

The market changed course several times during the day as investors balanced conflicting US economic data and testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Fed chief told Congress that the US economy should keep expanding at a solid, though somewhat slower pace this year, and reassured markets that the central bank would be "patient" in raising interest rates.

Those comments, which indicate steady policy ahead, cheered sentiments among Asian markets.

The S&P 500 dropped 2.21 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,793.90. The benchmark index, which has finished higher the past four weeks in a row, broke a two-day winning streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.97 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 26,057.98.

The Nasdaq composite slid 5.16 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,549.30.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 11.32 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 1,577.48. Major European indexes finished mostly higher.

US benchmark crude added 52 cents to USD 56.02 a barrel.

It was essentially flat at USD 55.50 a barrel in New York overnight.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, 34 cents to USD 65.70 a barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 110.57 yen from 110.86 yen Tuesday. The euro strengthened to USD 1.1384 from USD 1.1363.

-PTI

First published: 27 February 2019, 9:40 IST
 
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