Just nine days before Britain's deadline for leaving the 28-nation European bloc, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and lawmakers were facing off over the latest departure plan. Lawmakers were due to vote Tuesday on whether to approve the deal in principle and then on a schedule for debating it and possible amendments.
European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders would decide on whether to postpone the Oct. 31 deadline by three months depending on what the British parliament decides. In Asian trading, the Kospi in South Korea led gains, climbing 1.2% to 2,090.77 after a rally in technology companies overnight on Wall Street. Australia's S&P ASX 200 added 0.3% to 6,672.20. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.2% to 26,786.20, while the Shanghai Composite index reversed early losses to close 0.5% higher at 2,954.38. India's Sensex skidded 0.6% to 39,073.82.
Tokyo's markets were closed for a holiday marking the ascension of Emperor Naruhito to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne. Shares rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Investors were heartened by Trump's comment to reporters Monday that he hopes to sign a trade deal with China next month at a summit in Chile, "or whenever that might be."
On again, off again talks on resolving a dispute over trade and China's technology policies have dragged on for over a year, with both sides imposing billions of dollars' worth of tariffs on each other's goods. The most recent round, earlier this month in Washington, helped forestall a fresh set of tariff hikes that would have escalated tensions.
Economic adviser Larry Kudlow, told Fox Business, "I really like what they're saying on the other side." If current talks go well, he said, Trump might put off imposing more tariffs planned for December. But he added, "I can't guarantee it, it's completely up to the president."
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was warier, saying that the timing was less important than the contents of any deal. "It doesn't have to be in November," Ross told Fox. "The key thing is to get everything right that we do sign."
Analysts likewise have been skeptical. In a commentary, Mizuho Bank said "we think the current wave of trade optimism may be short-lived." It noted that negotiations were said to be going well before they collapsed in May. And talk of a partial deal suggests many issues will remain unresolved.
"Whilst scrapping of the upcoming December tariff is welcomed, this may be only marginally positive since a substantial degree of damage is already done from the existing tariffs," it said. Still, the bullish comments on trade lifted spirits overnight on Wall Street, where benchmarks extended the gains of the past two weeks.
The S&P 500 closed above 3,000 points for the first time in a month and is now within 0.7% of its all-time high set on July 26. As they wait for trade talk developments, investors are watching corporate earnings reports. Monday was a relatively quiet start to a week full of results from major companies.
Benchmark crude oil fell 12 cents to $53.39 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 36 cents to settle at $53.51 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, picked up 1 cent to $58.99 a barrel.
The dollar weakened to 108.52 Japanese yen from 108.60 yen on Monday. The euro also fell, to $1.1138 from $1.1149.