Asian shares higher as markets shrug off latest Trump threat

By KELVIN CHANMarketsAssociated Press

Most Asian stock markets turned higher Friday as investors brushed off initial worries about the Trump administration's latest threats of yet more tariffs on Chinese imports, indicating concerns were easing about a brewing trade battle between the world's two biggest economies.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent higher to 21,672.94 while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 percent to 2,427.21. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 crept 0.1 percent higher to 5,783.40 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.1 percent to 29,852.93 after trading resumed following a holiday as investors caught up with the previous day's global gains. Singapore's share index rose while Indonesia's fell. Mainland Chinese markets remained closed for a holiday.

TRADE TIFF: In an announcement that came after U.S. stock trading closed Thursday, President Donald Trump instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an extra $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. The surprise move was a further escalation of the deepening trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies, which just days earlier announced plans for $50 billion in import duties on each other's goods. The tariff threats had roiled financial markets but they had rebounded by Thursday on investor hopes the U.S. and China indicated would find a diplomatic solution.

MARKET INSIGHT: The latest Trump tariff announcement means the "trade war rhetoric is unlikely to leave the picture anytime soon," said Stephen Innes, head of Asian trading at OANDA. "With the seismic shifts in sentiment this week the last thing this market needs is more confusion."

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended higher. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.7 percent to 2,662.84. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1 percent to 24,505.22. The Nasdaq composite added 0.5 percent to 7,076.55.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 34 cents to $63.20 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 17 cents to settle at $63.54 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 31 cents to $68.02 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 107.25 yen from 107.40 yen The euro rose to $1.2245 from $1.2241.