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Asian shares gain as investors await news on China-US trade

/ 04:44 PM March 15, 2019
 Asian shares gain as investors await news on China-US trade

Visitors stand in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, March 15, 2019. Shares were higher Friday in Asia after a day of lackluster trading on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

BANGKOK – Shares rose Friday in Asia after a day of lackluster trading on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 1 percent to 21,506.92 as the Bank of Japan ended a policy meeting by keeping its key interest rate at minus 0.1 percent, maintaining its stance of extreme monetary easing and lavish stimulus.

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Chinese shares surged as the annual session of its ceremonial congress ended with Premier Li Keqiang pledging support for the slowing economy.

Li said the country would cut fees and taxes, delivering help worth almost 2 trillion yen (about $300 billion) to companies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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“We are going to cut value-added tax rates for manufacturing and other basic sectors, as well as for small and medium-sized companies, the largest providers of jobs in our country, in a meaningful way,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.5 percent to 3,035.10 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.8 percent to 29,083.03.

Investors spent Thursday in a wait-and-see mode, keeping a close watch on global trade issues and continuing to mostly brush off the chaos surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union, its key trading bloc.

U.S. stocks indexes barely budged Thursday as the market’s three-day winning streak stalled.

The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index 0.1 percent to 2,808.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 25,709.94.

The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.2 percent to 7,630.91, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 0.4 percent, to 1,549.63.

Facebook fell 1.8 percent after the New York Times reported that its data-sharing practices are now under criminal investigation.

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The investigation into how it sells data is the latest in a list of privacy scandals the social media company faces. Its privacy practices have already been scrutinized by The Federal Trade Commission. The company and its CEO have also faced Congressional inquiries.

Boeing fell 1 percent. The stock has slumped throughout the week as nations and airlines grounded its newest 737s over safety concerns. A second deadly crash over the weekend involving its 737 Max 8 and safety concerns stunted the company’s stock gains.

ELSEWHERE IN ASIA: South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.6 percent to 2,169.33 and the S&P ASX 200 of Australia rose 0.2 percent to 6,189.00. India’s Sensex surged 0.6 percent to 37,975.26. Shares rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia but fell in Thailand.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged higher to 111.71 Japanese yen from 111.70 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1316 from $1.1304.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil added 2 cents to $58.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 0.6 percent Thursday to settle at $58.61 a barrel. Brent crude, used as an international standard, also gained 2 cents, to $67.25 per barrel. / gsg

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TAGS: Asian shares, business news, China, stocks, US, Wall Street
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