Asian stocks move slightly higher on US-China hopes

Asian markets were modestly higher as news about the future of the US-China trade relationship sparked optimism among investors.

Japan’s Nikkei shares rose 0.5%, South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.2%, and China’s Shanghai Composite Index was about flat but positive. The only index in the region to end lower was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which ticked up 0.2% on Thursday.

Stocks around the world mostly rallied after the United States and China agreed to meet soon to resume trade talks.

“The buzz from the apparent de-escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China continues to be the only show in town,” wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at the Asia Pacific for Oanda, in a research note.

U.S. stock futures were also positive during Asia hours on Friday.

Meanwhile, Fitch, a credit rating agency, downgraded Hong Kong’s rating from “AA+” to “AA.” The agency cited persistent protests in the city that have undermined its creditworthiness. It also noted that Hong Kong is facing other headwinds, including the US-China trade war.

Still, the agency predicted that Hong Kong’s “considerable financial buffers” will remain intact. It believes that authorities can maintain the Hong Kong Dollar’s peg to the U.S. Dollar.

The investor will be watching later for the US jobs report while Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be expected to speak in Switzerland about the economy and monetary policy.

In other news, Chinese tech company Alibaba Group announced on Thursday that it would buy NetEase’s Kaola for $2 Billion. The acquisition of the e-commerce platform will make Alibaba even more dominant in the online shopping scene.

Also, Alibaba will take a minority stake in NetEase Cloud Music.

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