Stocks in Hong Kong rose more than 1% in an abbreviated trading session Monday, as investors were encouraged by signs that the U.S. and China are working toward a trade deal.

Most Asian stock markets, including Japan’s Nikkei, Korea’s Kospi and mainland China indexes, were closed ahead of the New Year’s holiday, and will be closed again Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei ended 2018 down 12% for the year.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +1.34%

  was up 1.2% on Monday and Australia’s ASX-200

XJO, -0.14%

  gave up early gains and was last slightly in the red. Both indexes were scheduled to close early for the holiday.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. was seeking more details from China on trade proposals, hoping to reach an agreement before the March 1 deadline that would raise U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods jump from 10% to 25%. On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had talked to Chinese President Xi Jinping and made “big progress,” though Journal sources warned that Trump may have been overly optimistic.

Early Monday, China reported factory activity fell more than expected in November, hitting a more-that-two-year low, and suggesting a contraction in manufacturing.

Gambling, mining and energy stocks were the region’s best-performing, with Galaxy Entertainment

0027, +2.57%

  and Sands China

1928, +2.39%

  up more than 2% in Hong Kong, while China Petroleum & Chemical

0386, +3.33%

  rose more than 3%. In Australia, Rio Tinto

RIO, +0.50%

 , Fortescue Metals

FMG, +1.21%

 and BHP

BHP, +0.82%

  all advanced.

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2018-12-30