ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.4 percent to 2,596.01 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.2 percent to 27,082.01. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 20,666.07 and Seoul's Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,124.28. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5 percent higher at 5,879.60 while India's Sensex shed 0.1 percent to 36,319.31. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also advanced.
US-CHINA TRADE: China said that its economy czar, Vice Premier Liu He, will visit Washington for talks on Jan. 30-31 aimed at ending the tariff war sparked by U.S. complaints about Beijing's technology ambitions. Business groups and economists were looking for Liu and his American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, to take part in talks as a sign lower-level negotiations earlier in Beijing made progress. The Wall Street Journal reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was willing to roll back U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese goods, though it said Lighthizer and other officials opposed that idea.
ANALYST'S COMMENT: Markets have welcomed "the latest indication of further interest from the U.S. to resolve the U.S.-China trade uncertainty," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. "While skepticism may well persist, and worries build ahead of Chinese growth figures next week, the driving force for intraday market action belongs to trade."
TESLA CUTS: Shares in Tesla were down almost 7 percent in pre-market electronic trading in New York after the company said it would cut 7 percent of its workforce. CEO Elon Musk said the cuts are meant to reduce costs as the company lowers the price for its cars. He said in a note to staff that the road ahead is "very difficult."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 78 cents to $52.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 24 cents on Thursday to close at $52.07. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 83 cents to $62.01 per barrel in London. It lost 14 cents the previous session to $61.18.
CURRENCY: The dollar advanced to 109.51 yen from Thursday's 109.24 yen. The euro gained to $1.1404 from $1.1388.