SYDNEY, Australia - Asian stock markets rallied on Friday following the publication of a positive report by a newspaper close to the Trump administration on the trade negotiations between China and the United States.
The Rupert Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the talks has proposed a lifting of some tariffs on goods being imported from China and went so far as to offering a tariff rollback in discussions with Chinese officials.
Markets welcomed the report, pushing stocks higher. The enthusiasm spread to Asian markets sending all the major indices into positive territory.
As with 2018, the U.S.-China trade row remains a key market theme in 2019. A slight difference is that there are some signs that the two sides are seeking some sort of a resolution, Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments in Tokyo was quoted by the Reuters Thomson news agency as saying. "China seems to be running low on options, while the United States would also want to avoid a prolonged conflict given the negative consequences on its markets and the economy," Monji added.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to join the talks at the end of the month, a sign that a resolution might be in the offing.
By the close of trading Friday, the Australian All Ordinaries had gained 34.40 points or 0.58% to 5,944.20.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was ahead 263.80 points or 1.29% at 20,666.07.
The Shanghai Composite closed up 36.37 points or 1.42% at 2,596.01.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong, at the close of trading Friday was up 335.18 points or 1.25% at 27,090.81.
The U.S. dollar on Friday was little changed. Around the close in Sydney the euro had drifted a couple of basis points to 1.1390.
The British pound had lost a tad to 1.2978. The Japanese yen was weaker at 109.41.
The Swiss franc dipped to 0.9940, while the Canadian dollar was a fraction lower at 1.3276.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were unchanged at 0.7190 and 0.6763 respectively.
Overnight on Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose on the back of good employment figures.
Applications for unemployment benefits last week declined, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
The fact there was a fall in applications was a surprise to the market, as a rise was anticipated.
At the close of trading Thursday, the Dow Jones industrials were ahead 162.94 points or 0.67% at 24,370.10.
The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 19.86 points or 0.76% to 2,635.96.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite was up 49.77 points or 0.71% at 7,094.46.