Asia mostly higher ahead of U.S.-China trade talks

Chinese markets led gains on Tuesday in a mostly positive trading session across Asia, extending their upward climb from the previous day after the banking regulator urged institutions to boost lending in the country.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 recovered 20.73 points, or 0.1%, to 22,219.73. The yen traded at 110.08 to the U.S. dollar, easing from an earlier high of 109.76.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng hiked 154.77 points, or 0.6%, to 27,752.79

Korean issues rose, with major tech names rising. Shares of Samsung Electronics closed up 2.2%, chip-maker SK Hynix added 5% and LG Electronics rose 1.7%. But major carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.6% and the state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation declined 1.6%.

Meanwhile, stock market operator Korea Exchange is reportedly looking into Merrill Lynch's Seoul operation over alleged unfair stock trades.
Australian markets gave way, with most sectors falling. The energy sector was down 1.8%, while materials were lower by 1.3% and the heavily weighted financials sub-index fell 1.3%. Major banking and mining stocks were down.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7351, following the release of the August policy meeting minutes by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The central bank said that since progress on unemployment and inflation was set to be gradual, there was "no strong case" to adjust the monetary policy in the near term.

Earlier this month, RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5% and said that business conditions in the economy remained positive while non-mining business investment was increasing. But the bank cautioned against uncertainty in the outlook for household consumption amid high debt levels.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also survived a leadership challenge for the Liberal Party by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Turnbull won by 48 votes to Dutton's 35.

In company news, global mining giant BHP announced earnings for the year ended Jun. 30. The miner said its underlying profit rose 33% from $6.73 billion to $8.93 billion for the fiscal year. But that number still missed an estimate of $9.27 billion that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S predicted.

BHP shares closed down 1.9%


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 59.4 points, or 1.8%, to 3,326.65.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission posted a statement on its website that called for institutions to raise the proportion of medium and long-term loans so that borrowers are not strained at the end of the month or quarter.

Moreover, investors will be looking forward to a meeting between U.S. and Chinese representatives this week. Reports said that delegations from Beijing are set to meet with U.S. officials on Wednesday and Thursday to try and find ways to resolve an escalating tariff war between the world's two largest economies. But market commentators said that they expect no major outcomes from this week's meeting.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index tacked on 22.18 points, or 1%, to 2,270.06

In Singapore, the Straits Times STI index doffed 4.82 points, or 0.2%, to 3,199.89

In Taiwan, the Taiex index climbed 93.15 points, or 0.9%, to 10,792.20

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 6.64 points, or 0.1%, to 9,115.78

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 60.62 points, or 1%, to 6,284.38