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Asian shares were higher on Wednesday, tracking the firmer Wall Street finish though reports that Washington plans to raise tariffs on $200-billion of Chinese goods have put the focus back on volatile Sino-U.S. trade relations.

Global markets inched higher on Tuesday, helped by a Bloomberg report that the U.S. and China were seeking to resume trade talks to defuse the battle over import tariffs.

However, later reports that the U.S. plans tariffs of 25 per cent on $200-billion in Chinese imports have injected some uncertainty back into financial markets, with the offshore yuan and the Australian dollar lower.

A source told Reuters that an announcement on Washington’s tariff plans for China could come as early as Wednesday.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index gained 0.6 per cent. S&P E-mini futures were flat at 2816.5 after earlier edging higher.

“Solid U.S. data helped boost risk sentiment; however it was the news that (U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve) Mnuchin and (Chinese Vice Premier) Liu He are speaking again that sparked a bigger risk rally,” ANZ analysts said in a note, referring to the U.S. Treasury secretary and the Chinese vice premier.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.43 per cent to 25,415.19, the S&P 500 gained 0.49 per cent to 2,816.29 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.55 per cent to 7,671.79.

In China, investors brushed off trade war fears, with the Shanghai Composite index up 0.5 per cent in early trade. Blue-chip shares also gained 0.5 per cent.

Tech shares across the region may get a boost after Apple Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for its quarterly results thanks to robust sales of its top-of-the-line iPhone X. . The company’s shares rose 3.4 per cent to $196.80 in after-hours trade.

Investors will also be watching data from around the region, including manufacturing activity numbers from China, for indications of the outlook for the global economy.

Data from Australia showed a slowdown in manufacturing activity in July, with the Commonwealth Bank/Markit purchasing managers index at its lowest level in nearly two years.

Australian shares ticked down 0.1 per cent after earlier moving higher on Wednesday.

Policy meetings of the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the Bank of England on Thursday will also keep some investors on the sidelines, although the U.S. central bank is expected to keep rates unchanged.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was at 2.9617 per cent, compared with its U.S. close of 2.964 per cent on Tuesday.

The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 2.6694 per cent compared with a U.S. close of 2.669 per cent.

The dollar was flat against the yen at 111.85.

The euro was down 0.1 per cent the day at $1.1685. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, gained 0.1 per cent to 94.564.

U.S. crude dipped 0.7 per cent at $68.29 a barrel. Brent crude gave up 0.4 per cent to $73.89 per barrel.

Spot gold fall 0.1 per cent to $1,222.09 per ounce.

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Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 24/05/24 4:00pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
AAPL-Q
Apple Inc
+1.66%189.98

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