Asia shares gain on reports China, US may resume trade talks

An investor sits in front of private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as traders were unsure if reported efforts by the U.S. and China to restart trade talks would bear fruit. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

SINGAPORE — Asian shares are mostly higher as traders watch to see what might come of reports the U.S. and China are looking to restart trade talks.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7 percent to 22,713.08 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,304.03. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 percent to 2,867.33 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was flat at 28,555.32. Australia's S&P ASX 200 was almost flat at 6,279.10. Shares were higher in Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose on strong results from industrial and health care companies and on the anonymously sourced reports that the U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks. S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to 2,816.29 on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 25,415.19 and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5 percent higher at 7,671.79. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks jumped 1.1 percent to 1,670.80.

U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the situation, that U.S. and Chinese officials are looking for ways to reopen trade talks. Earlier this month, both nations placed import taxes on $34 billion worth of goods, and they've been threatening more severe measures. In another report, Bloomberg said the Trump administration will propose raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent, from the planned 10 percent. It cited three people familiar with internal negotiations. If proven true, negotiations may be a long-drawn affair even if both parties agree to start talking.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "As mentioned above, the positive leads are in abundance today, set to aid Asian markets on a recovery," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. "Perhaps an inspiration following the U.S.-EU development, the intention had certainly been taken well by the market. That said, it remains early times with the timetable and issues still uncertain as cautioned by the parties, one to follow for development," she wrote.

APPLE EARNINGS: Apple made more money from higher priced iPhones in the latest quarter, even as the number of phones it sold did not change much. Apple unit sales rose just 1 percent from a year ago, but the average selling price grew 20 percent to $724 per iPhone, up from $606 a year ago. Its stocks climbed 2.5 percent to $195.14 in aftermarket trading on Tuesday, after the company's reported third-quarter profit and sales were better than analysts expected.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 38 cents to $68.38 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 2 percent to settle at $68.76 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 28 cents to $73.93 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.97 yen from 111.83 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1677 from $1.1697.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report.

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