Asian markets mostly higher, paced by China – MarketWatch

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Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday after a listless day of modest losses on Wall Street.

Chinese benchmarks led the advance, lifted by promises the legislature will enact measures to open the economy and cool trade tensions.

The Shanghai Composite index

SHCOMP, +1.57%

  jumped 0.9% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng

HSI, +0.26%

  added 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei 225

NIK, -0.60%

  lost 0.7 % as a stronger yen hurt shares of export manufacturers.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P ASX 200

XJO, +0.75%

  rose 0.7% and South Korea’s Kospi

SEU, -0.17%

  lost 0.5%. Shares rose in Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.73%

  and Taiwan

Y9999, +0.50%

  but fell in Singapore

STI, -0.35%

 .

Among individual stocks, Panasonic

6752, -0.83%

  and Fast Retailing

9983, -2.51%

  declined, while Rakuten

4755, +2.82%

  and Nintendo

7974, +2.41%

  rose in Tokyo trading. Sunny Optical

2382, +2.78%

  and AAC

2018, +3.84%

  surged in Hong Kong, and Tencent

0700, +0.17%

 gained as well. Samsung

005930, -0.56%

  and SK Hynix

000660, -2.30%

  slid in Korea, though LG Electronics

066570, +4.35%

  rallied. Rio Tinto

RIO, +1.09%

  and Fortescue Metals

FMG, +1.69%

  continued to post gains in Australia.

China will bar government authorities from demanding overseas companies hand over technology secrets in exchange for market share, Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the Cabinet’s economic planning agency told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

The measure addresses complaints that China forces companies to share technology, a key issue in the trade war between the U.S. and China.

The provision is contained in a foreign investment law to be debated during the rubber-stamp legislature’s session, which wraps up later this month.

“Examining the outlook, the market remains a trade driven one as we await the confirmation and details of the trade deal,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “Past that, however, the latest set of announcements does affirm the Chinese authorities’ willingness to put policy into action to keep the market going.”

Overnight, stocks edged lower on Wall Street as losses in industrial, technology and financial stocks outweighed gains elsewhere.

Meanwhile, traders continued to wait for new details on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.11%

  edged 0.1% lower to 2,789.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.05%

  also lost 0.1%, to 25,806.63. The Nasdaq composite

COMP, -0.02%

  was flat at 7,576.36.

The U.S. and China have pulled back from an immediate escalation of their damaging trade war since they started negotiating last month. President Donald Trump postponed a deadline for raising tariffs on more Chinese goods, citing progress in a series of talks. Media reports on Monday suggested the nations could strike a deal this month.

U.S. crude

CLJ9, -0.74%

  slipped 46 cents to $56.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 3 cents to settle at $56.56 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude

LCOK9, -0.05%

 , used to price international oils, fell 49 cents to $65.37 a barrel.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.02%

  fell to 111.76 yen from 111.87 yen on Tuesday.

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