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Asian stocks touch four-month peak on U.S.-China trade deal hopes

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TOKYO – Asian stocks edged up to a more than four-month high on Wednesday, lifted by optimism that the United States and China might be able to hammer out a deal to resolve their nearly year-long trade dispute.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose as much as 0.5 percent to hit its highest level since early October.

Japan’s Nikkei average climbed 1.3 percent to mark an eight-week high, while South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.5 percent.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite and the blue-chip CSI 300 advanced 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent. Asia took its cue from Wall Street, where the Dow and Nasdaq each rallied about 1.5 percent overnight on optimism over U.S.-China trade negotiations and a tentative U.S. congressional spending deal to avert another partial government shutdown.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he could see letting the March 1 deadline for reaching a trade agreement with China slide a little if the two sides were close to a complete deal.

Officials in Washington and Beijing had expressed hopes that a new round of talks which began this week would bring them nearer to easing their seven-month trade war.

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