Asian shares were higher in muted trading Wednesday as investors awaited the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225
added 0.5% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
gained 0.3% and South Korea’s Kospi
edged up nearly 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
added 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite index
Among individual stocks, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing
jumped in Tokyo trading, along with Rakuten
and Takeda Pharmeceutical
. In Hong Kong, AIA Group
and Sands China
were among the biggest gainers, while Apple
and Sunny Optical
sank. Hyundai Motor
spiked in Korean trading after the auto maker spurned a dividend-payout call by activist investor Elliott Management. Beach Energy
shares rose in Australia.
Kim and Trump both arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday and their Hanoi meetings get underway later in the day Wednesday. The two leaders first met last June in Singapore, a summit that was long on historic pageantry but short in any enforceable agreements for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Trump and Kim are to have a private dinner Wednesday evening and discussions on Thursday in hopes of building on an aspirational agreement they made in Singapore.
U.S. stock indexes capped a day of wobbly trading with slight losses Tuesday, erasing some of their modest gains from a day earlier. The market changed course several times during the day as investors balanced conflicting U.S. economic data and testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
The Fed chief told Congress that the U.S. economy should keep expanding at a solid, though somewhat slower pace this year, and reassured markets that the central bank would be “patient” in raising interest rates. Those comments, which indicate steady policy ahead, cheered sentiments among Asian markets.
The S&P 500
dropped 2.21 points, or 0.1%, to 2,793.90. The benchmark index, which has finished higher the past four weeks in a row, broke a two-day winning streak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 33.97 points, or 0.1%, to 26,057.98. The Nasdaq composite
slid 5.16 points, or 0.1%, to 7,549.30.
U.S. benchmark crude
added 52 cents to $56.02 a barrel. It was essentially flat at $55.50 a barrel in New York overnight. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, 34 cents to $65.70 a barrel in London.
declined to 110.57 yen from 110.86 yen
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