Asia shares mostly higher on upbeat talk on China-US trade

In this Jan. 11, 2019, photo, visitors watch a stock trading board at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shares were mixed in Asia on Friday, April 5, 2019, with Chinese markets closed for a holiday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia after President Donald Trump and a senior Chinese envoy said trade talks in Washington were making progress.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.4% to 21,807.50 while the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1% higher to 2,209.61. The S&P ASX in Australia dropped 0.8% to 6,181.30, while India’s Sensex rose 0.2% to 38,776.39. Shares also fell in New Zealand and Indonesia but rose in Singapore and Malaysia.

Overnight, Wall Street had another wobbly day of trading. Modest gains nudged the market’s winning streak to a sixth straight day.

Markets have been wobbly throughout the week as investors wait for the U.S. government’s jobs report on Friday and prepare for a new round of corporate earnings reports next week.

New government data on Thursday showing applications for unemployment aid fell last week to a 49-year low likely means Friday’s jobs report will show a strong rebound in hiring after a weak February, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.2%, to 2,879.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 26,384.63. The Nasdaq fell 0.1%,to 7,891.78, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.4%, to 1,567.49.

Major indexes in Europe finished mostly lower.

Investors are also keeping a close watch on the latest rounds of U.S.-China trade negotiations. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the two sides were “rounding the turn” in the talks, which resumed Wednesday in Washington.

No details were announced but Trump said after meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He that “something monumental” could be announced within weeks.

Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, told Trump that “because of your direct involvement, we do have great progress.”

The dispute over technology policy, involving punitive tariffs imposed by both sides, has rattled markets and cast a pall over the outlook for the global economy.

SAMSUNG PROFIT PLUNGES: Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday that its operating profit likely fell more than 60% in January-March from a year earlier amid falling memory chip prices and slowing demand for display panels. The South Korean technology giant estimated an operating profit of 6.2 trillion won ($5.4 billion) for the January-March quarter, which would represent a 60.4% drop from the same period last year. The company said revenue likely fell 14% to 52 trillion won ($45.8 billion).

CURRENCIES: The dollar was flat at 111.66 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.1231 from $1.1221.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 8 cents to $62.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 0.6% to settle at $62.10 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 30 cents to $69.10 per barrel.