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Asian Stocks Mixed as US-China Talks Set to Begin

Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Wednesday as China's Vice Premier Liu He is set to begin trade talks with U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, in Washington today.

China’s Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component edged up 0.1% and 0.2% by 9:50 PM ET (02:50 GMT), while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.4%.

Apple’s CEO Time Cook, who is reportedly in regular contact with Trump, said trade tension between China and the U.S. is easing this month.

Despite Cook’s comments, traders remain sceptical whether the two sides could bridge their differences over a number of issues, especially after the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled two criminal cases against China’s technological giant Huawei on Tuesday.

Citing people familiar with the talks, Reuters said there have been few signs that Chinese officials are willing to address core U.S. demands on intellectual property rights and technology transfers.

"Clearly on the structural concerns, on forced technology transfers, there remains a significant gap if not a wide chasm between the two sides," a person familiar with the talks told Reuters.

The two nations are trying to reach a deal before a deadline on March 1. Otherwise, Trump is likely to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

Meanwhile, investors also await the monetary policy decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.4%.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.6%. LG Display (KS:034220) slumped about 4% in the morning after the company said its panel shipments for the first quarter were expected to decrease by a high single-digit percentage due to seasonally weak demand.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 edged down 0.1%.

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