Asian stocks rise with eyes on Singapore summit

TOKYO – Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday but little changed as market players tried to digest the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 0.3 per cent in early trading at 22,867.41. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was also up nearly 0.3 per cent at 6,061.30. South Korea’s Kospi was virtually unchanged at 2,468.37 after fluctuating earlier in the day. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng’s rose 0.2 per cent to 31,120.23, while the Shanghai Composite index recouped earlier losses to be up less than 0.1 per cent at 3,054.22.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.78 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 25,322.31. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.97 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,782.00 and the Nasdaq composite rose 14.41 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,659.93.

SUMMIT WATCH: Investors have been waiting for the meeting between Trump and Kim, aimed at settling a standoff over the North’s nuclear arsenal. Trump and Kim shook hands warmly in Singapore and then moved into a roughly 40-minute one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters, before including their advisers. North Korea has reportedly said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits.

CENTRAL BANKS: The Federal Reserve will start a two-day meeting on interest rates on Tuesday, wrapping up on Wednesday. Investors expect the nation’s central bank to raise interest rates from their current level of 1.75 per cent to 2 per cent, but most attention will be on how many rate hikes Fed officials are considering doing later this year. On Friday, the Bank of Japan is due to give its latest policy update.

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