Asian markets mixed after US shares forge new highs

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2019, file photo specialist Mario Picone, right, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov 26. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2019, file photo specialist Mario Picone, right, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov 26. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

NEW YORK, NY – Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Wednesday after a fresh set of record highs on Wall Street, spurred by encouraging signs on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.4% to 23,464.57 while the S&P ASX 200 climbed 0.7% to 6,833.20. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3% to 2,127.21 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was almost unchanged at 26,918.28. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 2,897.89.

Shares fell in Malaysia but rose in Taiwan and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Overnight on Wall Street, retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending helped power the modest rally, which adds to the market’s solid start to the week. Only energy, banks and health care sector stocks ended with losses. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “We’re in the final throes of a very deal. I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever.”

That followed comments in Beijing, where the Commerce Ministry said negotiators for both sides had spoken on the phone and agreed to more talks aimed at reaching a deal. The latest development came a day after China announced new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights, which has been a key issue in the dispute.

Investors have grown more hopeful over trade negotiations as the world’s two largest economies continue to keep their rhetoric in check. That’s a clear difference from earlier this year, when a sharp comment from either side would seemingly silence any ongoing talks and worsen relations.

“Generally, you can kind of look at the commentary coming out and I’d say it leans in the direction of progress being made, albeit at a fairly slow pace,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede Trust.