Asian shares advance as investors watch US-China trade talks

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TOKYO (AP) — European shares were mixed by midday while Asian markets closed higher on Monday as investors awaited signs the U.S. and China could be making progress in negotiations on resolving the trade war between the two biggest economies.

France’s CAC 40 was unchanged at 5,405. Germany’s DAX slid 0.2 percent to 11,664, while Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent to 7,271.

U.S. shares were set for a mixed start with Dow futures inching down 0.1 percent to 25,868. S&P 500 futures rose 0.1 percent, to 2,833.

China’s congress on Friday endorsed an investment law that aims to address complaints, particularly from the U.S., that China’s system is rigged against foreign companies. The U.S. claims China forces companies to share technology in order to do business in the country.

The lack of any major upsets in the talks appears to have calmed frazzled nerves.

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The Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.5 percent to 3,096.42 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.4 percent to 29,409.01.

But that could easily change, given reports that a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to formalize a deal might be pushed back to June.

“U.S.-China trade war concerns were a major factor of a global growth downgrade,” said Alfonso Esparza, an analyst with Oanda. “While comments from both sides have been positive, there have been few details on where negotiations stand. The delay could once again spark anxiety in the market.”

Traders are also confident that the Federal Reserve will hold off on any action that could jeopardize economic growth. The central bank, which signaled in January that it was hitting pause on its rate hikes amid a slowdown in global growth and weak inflation, is holding a meeting of policymakers this week.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.6 percent to 21,584.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 6,190.50. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,179.49. India’s Sensex slipped 0.1 percent to 37,994.25, while shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.51 Japanese yen from 111.48 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1357 from $1.1326.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude ticked up 6 cents to $58.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude rose 14 cents to $67.30 a barrel.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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