Asian stocks mostly higher after Trump tariff extension

BEIJING - China's main stock index jumped to an eight-month high Monday after President Donald Trump said he would postpone a March 1 deadline for a U.S. tariff hike on imports from China following talks on a dispute over Beijing's technology ambitions.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 5.6 per cent to 2,961.28, its highest close since June 15, after Trump said weekend negotiations in Washington made "substantial progress."

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5 per cent to 21,527.36 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 per cent in choppy trading to 28,899.44. Seoul's Kospi was flat at 2,230.90. India's Sensex advanced 0.2 per cent to 35,950.50 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.2 per cent to 6,176.40.

New Zealand, Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia advanced while Singapore declined.

Trump said Sunday he would postpone a deadline for 10 per cent punitive tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to rise to 25 per cent but set no new date.

The fight threatens to disrupt global trade and weigh on economic growth that shows signs of slowing.

Trump's announcement should reassure financial markets, but stock gains might be limited because prices already had risen in expectation of such a move, analysts said.

"The latest news may not offer a significant boost to start the week," Tai Hui of J.P. Morgan Asset Management said in a report. "Nonetheless, it helps to underpin positive investor sentiment."

The greatest enthusiasm was seen in mainland China's biggest market, Shanghai.

"This is the real thing," said Francis Lun, a stock analyst in Hong Kong. He said the Shanghai composite "could reach 2900 very soon. So all the signs are pointing to a bull run."

The world's two biggest economies have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods in the fight over U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Washington wants China to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other technologies. Europe, Japan and other trading partners echo U.S. complaints those violate Beijing's free-trade obligations.

Investors are watching February manufacturing indicators due out this week for signs of further deceleration in global activity.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 10 cents to $57.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 30 cents to $57.26 on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 20 cents to $66.92 per barrel in London. It added 5 cents the previous session to $67.12.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 110.67 yen from Friday's 110.68 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1342 from $1.1333.


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