Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, cheered by a rise on Wall Street amid some signs of easing tensions between the U.S. and China on trade issues.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to 21,570.81 in afternoon trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1% to 6,621.10. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.6% to 2,043.96. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.7% to 27,147.07, while the Shanghai Composite slid 0.1% to 3,017.53.
On Wall Street, investors continued to flock to smaller-company stocks they see as being better shielded from the fallout of the costly trade war between the U.S. and China than large multinationals.
The S&P 500 index inched up 0.96 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,979.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.92 points, or 0.3%, to 26,909.43. The average was briefly down 118 points. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 3.28 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8,084.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks led the gainers, adding 18.76 points, or 1.2%, to 1,542.99.
The U.S. market has been gaining ground for two weeks as investors remain confident in the strength of the economy, despite the lingering trade war between the U.S. and China.
The feud between the world’s two largest economies has been injecting doses of volatility into the market as both sides escalate and then pull back. Recent plans for trade talks to resume in October raised some hope on Wall Street for a resolution.
“The U.S.-China tug of war will continue, but there is growing sense that U.S.-China sentiment may be shifting to a state of trade war neutrality,” said Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.
Meanwhile, investors continue to watch the steady flow of economic data for a clearer picture of the U.S. economy’s health. Recent reports have been a mixed bag, including a Labor Department report Tuesday that showed both a slip in job openings as well as a slight increase in hiring in July.
The Labor Department will report the latest consumer price index figures on Thursday and the Commerce Department will report August retail sales data on Friday. Economists continue to expect the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates at its meeting next week to help maintain U.S. economic growth.
Benchmark crude oil rose 52 cents to $57.92. It fell 45 cents to $57.40 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 54 cents to $62.92 a barrel.
The dollar rose to 107.78 Japanese yen from 107.39 yen on Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.1052 from $1.1035.