Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of U.S. Jobs Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump touted prospects for an “epic” trade deal with China but failed to announce a date and place for a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese state media Xinhua quoted Vice Premier Liu He as saying that a new consensus has been reached between the two sides on the text of a trade agreement.

Investors also looked ahead to the all-important U.S. jobs report due later in the day, with economists looking for stabilization in payrolls following the weakest reading since 2017.

The markets in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong were closed for the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday.

Japanese markets hit a one-month high, with shares of companies relying on Chinese demand leading the advance on hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal.

Investors shrugged off data showing that Japanese household spending rose less than expected in February and real wages unexpectedly fell.

The average of household spending in Japan rose an annual 1.7 percent in the month, missing expectations for a gain of 1.9 percent.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 82.55 points or 0.4 percent to 21,807.50, the highest close since March 4. The broader Topix closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,625.75.

Fanuc and Hitachi Construction Machinery gained over 1 percent each after Chinese President Xi Jinping said that “new substantial progress” has been made on the text of the U.S.-China trade agreement.

Japan Post Insurance soared almost 10 percent. Its parent Japan Post Holdings announced on Thursday it would sell up to 30 percent of the outstanding shares in its subsidiary by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Australian shares fell sharply, dragged down by financials. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 51.50 points or 0.8 percent to 6,181.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 49.80

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