Britain's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay was to meet with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels Friday in search of progress. The European Commission said Thursday it had received new documents from the British government as discussions resumed between the sides to try to find a compromise on Britain's plan to leave the bloc.
The Sensex in Mumbai was trading 5.2% higher at 37,978.01 after the Finance Ministry announced a slew of tax concessions that brought the effective corporate tax rate for most domestic companies to just over 25% from 30%.
India's economy, the world's 6th largest, has been growing at its slowest rate in five years, stymied both by domestic troubles and weakening global demand. The lower tax rates will hurt revenues but are aimed at stimulating investment and shoring up waning confidence.
"The fiscal steps by the Indian government are likely to re-energize investor interest in the subcontinent," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. "India still has a non-performing loan swamp to drain, but this is most definitely a step in the right direction," he said.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2% to 22,079.09 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.2% to 3,006.45. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.5% to 2,091.52 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.2% to 6,730.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged 0.1% lower, to 26,432.86.
Expectations have remained modest as U.S. and Chinese officials meet in Washington to prepare for negotiations next month on a trade war that is hobbling regional and global growth. "To some extent the latest updates on U.S.-China officials having met face-to-face in Washington tilts the sentiment back to the positive, one to aid Asia markets, but it once again highlights the fragility of the market sentiment on this biggest risk that persists," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 64 cents to settle at $58.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It's up 6.3% this week following the attack on a Saudi Aramco facility last weekend that temporarily cut the country's exports by half. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 54 cents to close at $64.94.
The dollar fell to 107.87 Japanese yen from 107.92 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1059 from $1.1042.
AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed.