US-China trade hopes leave Asian markets mixed

Posted November 7, 2019 10:08 p.m. EST

— Asian stocks were mixed on Friday, with investors reacting cautiously to signs of a thaw in US-China trade tensions.

A spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce told reporters Thursday afternoon that US and Chinese negotiators have discussed rolling back tariffs, saying the rollbacks could happen even before a "phase one" trade deal is signed.

The comments lifted Wall Street to record highs. But the rally didn't carry over to Asia.

Japan's Nikkei and China's Shanghai Composite were flat, but in positive territory. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.4% and South Korea's Kospi Index dipped 0.3%.

China's remarks raised hopes — yet again — that China and the United States are inching toward a resolution to the 18-month-long trade war.

President Donald Trump first announced last month that the countries had reached a "phase one" agreement on trade, though that pact has yet to be finalized. Trump hinted that he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would sign that preliminary agreement at an economic summit in Chile this month, but the summit was canceled because of an ongoing political crisis and violent protests in the planned host country.

The two sides are now reportedly looking into a new location for a signing ceremony, but the Ministry of Commerce spokesman said there is no news on that at the moment.

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