SINGAPORE — Asian stocks were mostly higher on Monday as traders watched for developments on a fresh round of trade talks between American and Chinese officials in Beijing this week. Markets in China and Taiwan, reopening after a weeklong Lunar New Year break, posted broad gains.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.1 percent to 2,646.45. The Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.2 percent to 2,180.73 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3 percent to 28,038.09. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was 0.2 percent lower at 6,060.80. Stocks rose in Taiwan but fell in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
WALL STREET: Gains by technology and consumer goods companies lifted most U.S. indexes on Friday. They more than balanced out losses by financial stocks and retailers after a mixed bag of quarterly earnings. The broad S&P 500 index climbed 0.1 percent to 2,707.88 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent to 7,298.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3 percent to 25,106.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks advanced 0.1 percent to 1,506.39.
U.S-CHINA TALKS: Officials from the U.S. and China will gather in Beijing for trade talks on Thursday and Friday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the American delegation at the talks, which are aimed at bringing both sides closer to resolving deep-seated issues such as unhappiness over Beijing’s technology policy. Lower-level negotiations are set to begin Monday, but a resolution isn’t expected before a truce on tariffs expires in early March. Any agreement before then, or a simple extension of the truce, will be viewed as a positive for markets. If not, the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods.