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Asia Shares Higher on Monday           03/18 05:45

   Shares rose in Asia on Monday as investors awaited signs the U.S. and China 
could be making progress in negotiations on resolving the trade war between the 
two biggest economies.

   TOKYO (AP) -- Shares rose in Asia on Monday as investors awaited signs the 
U.S. and China could be making progress in negotiations on resolving the trade 
war between the two biggest economies.

   Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.0 percent to 29,305.33, while the Shanghai 
Composite jumped 2 percent to 3,082.39.

   Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.6 percent to 21,584.50. Australia's 
S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 6,190.50. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent 
to 2,179.68.

   China's congress on Friday endorsed an investment law that aims to address 
complaints, particularly from the U.S., that China's system is rigged against 
foreign companies. The U.S. claims China forces companies to share technology 
in order to do business in the country.

   The lack of any major upsets in the talks has calmed frazzled nerves, but 
that could change.

   "U.S.-China trade war concerns were a major factor of a global growth 
downgrade," said Alfonso Esparza, an analyst with Oanda. "While comments from 
both sides have been positive, there have been few details on where 
negotiations stand. The delay could once again spark anxiety in the market."

   Wall Street ended last week on an upbeat note, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.5 
percent Friday to 2,822.48, a new high for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial 
Average advanced 0.5 percent to 25,848.87. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8 
percent, to 7,688.53. The S&P 500's gain was 0.5 percent. The Russell 2000 
index of smaller companies picked up 3.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,553.54.

   U.S. stocks have had a strong showing this year, with all the major indexes 
gaining at least 10 percent.

   Traders are also confident that the Federal Reserve will hold off on any 
action that could jeopardize economic growth. The central bank, which signaled 
in January that it was hitting pause on its rate hikes amid a slowdown in 
global growth and weak inflation, is holding a meeting of policymakers this 
week.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.57 Japanese yen from 111.48 yen on 
Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1339 from $1.1326.

   ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil slipped 12 cents to $58.40 a barrel in 
electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It slipped 0.2 percent 
to settle last week at $58.52 a barrel. Brent crude gained 3 cents to $67.19 a 
barrel.


(BE)

 
 
 
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