Asia Rebounds on Possible Huawei Concessions

Major Asian stock markets recovered from earlier lows to close higher on Thursday as investors watched for developments on the U.S.-China trade front ahead of high-level negotiations between the two economic powerhouses.

The Nikkei 225 recovered 95.6 points, or 0.5%, to 21,551.98.

Core machinery orders in the country fell for the second consecutive month in August, according to Cabinet Office data on Thursday.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, traded at 107.51 per U.S. dollar after touching an earlier high of 107.02.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index regained 25.12 points, or 0.1%, to 25,707.93

In Korea, markets fell as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor lost 2.3%.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6745 following a low of $0.6707 seen earlier.

CHINA

The CSI 300 poked up 5.56 points, or 0.1%, to 3,843.24.

The New York Times reported Wednesday evening stateside that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is set to grant licenses that would allow American firms to sell nonsensitive supplies to Huawei.

Earlier this year, the White House banned sales to the Chinese telecommunications giant, citing national security concerns. The ban was subsequently delayed by the administration to allow American firms to make other arrangements.

Investors are tuning into the chatter on U.S.-China trade talks, which are set to begin Thursday stateside amid a series of rapid developments. One report on Thursday morning in Asia said the two sides made no progress in deputy-level negotiations this week. In discussions that were held earlier in the week, China refused to discuss the issue of forced technology transfers.

In other markets

Markets in Taiwan were closed on Thurssday for a holiday.

In Korea, the Kospi returned to trading, but lost 18.1 points, or 0.9%, to 2,028.15

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slid 0.42 points to 3,089.48

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 slumped 54.14 points, or 0.5%, to 10,886.73

In Australia, the ASX 200 cleared breakeven by only 0.35 points to 6,547.08