U.S. stocks rebounded Wednesday after Trump told reporters China wants "to make a deal very badly" and it "could happen sooner than you think." "Investors have been 'trade war' bearish for so long that any sliver of optimism is cheered," said Stephen Innes of AxiTrader in a report.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 picked up 0.1% to 22,048.24 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.4% to 26,041.93. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9% to 2,929.09. Traders took profits before trading halts next week for the National Day holiday following an extended rise in prices, especially for tech stocks.
"To avoid uncertainty, funds will sell and pocket their money," the China Securities Journal said on its website. Seoul's Kospi was up 1 point at 2,074.52 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.5% to 6,677.60. India's Sensex added 1.1% to 39,009.11.
The U.S.-Chinese dispute over Beijing's trade surplus and technology ambitions has fueled anxiety the global economy could tip into recession. Both sides have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods, hurting factories and farmers on both sides.
Adding to optimism, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman on Thursday confirmed reports that importers had completed deals for purchases of American pork and soybeans. Negotiators are due to meet next month in Washington for a 13th round of talks. Economists say a temporary deal is possible but a final settlement is unlikely this year.
Trump signed a trade deal with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on Wednesday that covers farm, industrial and digital trade but leaves tariffs on autos and parts at 2.5%. That prompted Japanese automakers to appeal to their government for more support. The deal caps negotiations that began last year after Trump complained about Japan's trade surplus with the United States and threatened higher tariffs and other measures.
The deal with Japan "suggests the president is open to an 'interim' trade deal, possibly signaling he is willing to negotiate one with China," said Innes. Investors largely shrugged off news of impeachment proceedings against Trump, said Mizuho Bank in a report.
The congressional probe might complicate White House efforts to resolve trade disputes with China and other nations. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 22 cents to $56.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 80 cents on Wednesday to close at $56.49. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 17 cents to $61.60 per barrel in London. The contract declined 69 cents the previous session to $61.43.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 107.62 yen from Wednesday's 107.75 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0936 from $1.0944.