Asian shares mixed as the wait goes on for elusive US-China trade deal

Asian share markets were mixed in subdued trade on Tuesday, pending clearer news on whether US-China negotiations will reach a preliminary accord to end the prolonged trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

“There are some lingering doubts over whether a phase one deal can be struck,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho bank’s Asia treasury department in Singapore, said. “The suspicion is that there are a lot more wrinkles to iron out than initially thought.”

Meantime, hopes that Beijing will deliver some economic stimulus provided a boost to sentiment.

MSCI’S broadest index of Asia-pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, with shanghai Blue Chips gaining 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also rose, to close 0.7% higher. However Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.4% and South Korea’s Kospi 200 dropped 0.5%, while volumes were light across the board.

Overnight, CNBC had reported the mood in Beijing was pessimistic about prospects of sealing a trade agreement with the United States.

Obversely, a new extension granted by Washington to let U.S. companies keep doing business with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei suggested a possible olive branch. Still, neither morsel shed much light on progress in negotiations, and the listless trading suggested optimism over prospects for a deal was beginning to flag

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