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Asian Stocks Follow Wall Street Up, Trade Uncertainty Remains

Asian stocks were trending higher in morning trade Thursday - Asian stocks were trending higher in morning trade Thursday, getting support from significant rises in U.S. markets through Wednesday.

U.S. stock saw their biggest gains in about eight months Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the bank may not raise interest much more.

Powell said rates are close to neutral in regards to economic growth and that the Fed might stop increases next year to assess the impact of the increases to date. His comments helped the S&P 500 gain 2.3% and the Dow 30 2.5% while the Nasdaq jumped 2.95%.

Asia took the lead from the U.S. but the gains were milder.

Investors are looking to a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend during the G20 summit in Argentina for hints about future developments in the ongoing trade war between the two countries.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.15% to 26,632 by 10:25PM EST (03:25AM GMT) while bourses in mainland China were also up. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.13% to 2,607.96 and the SZSE Componentmade up loses through the morning to trade up 0.13% at 7,768.23.

The Hong Kong market started the morning with gains, but investors once again fell prey to the uncertainty that has gripped markets in recent months. Hong Kong’s performance has been among the best in the world through November but the potential impact of the U.S. – China trade war has been felt.

“Market sentiment had been a little more positive before Powell’s speech, but trade uncertainty continues to weigh,” wrote Jack Chambers of ANZ Research in a daily note.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.71% to 22,334 and South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.70% at 2,123.13. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.59% to 5,759.

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