Asia markets to keep an eye on US-China trade talks after a mixed close on Wall Street

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Asia markets are set to watch how U.S.-China trade talks progress on Friday, following a mixed close for the U.S.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 5.17 points to close at 23930.15, while the S&P 500 closed down 0.23 percent to close at 2,629.73. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.18 percent, ending the day at 7,088.15.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is leading a group of Trump administration officials to meet with Chinese officials and discuss trade between the two nations.

Shortly before the talks were set to take place in Beijing, the mood between the world’s two largest economies worsened amid reports the U.S. administration is considering taking action to restrict some Chinese firms’ ability to sell telecommunications equipment.

Wall Street also eyed Washington amid more news regarding Trump’s legal troubles. In an interview, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, said the president repaid his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

In Asia, Australian SPI futures were higher by 0.2 percent.

Japan markets are closed on Friday for a holiday.

Elsewhere, HSBC is due to report its first quarter earnings later on Friday. In Australia, Macquarie Group announced its full year results, with full year net profit at $2.56 billion Australian dollars ($1.92 billion).

In currencies, the yen traded at 109.17 to the dollar at 6:56 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, last traded at 92.414 after earlier hitting a four-month high of 92.834.

Oil prices rose on Thursday as investors focused on the possibility of the U.S. imposing sanctions against Iran.

Brent crude futures rose 26 cents to settle at $73.62 a barrel, a 0.35 percent gain. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 50 cents to settle at $68.43 a barrel, a 0.74 percent increase.

This is the economic calendar for Friday (All times in HK/SIN) :

  • 9:45 a.m.: China Caixin Services PMI
  • 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia trade data

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.

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