Asia Markets: Asian markets erase early losses on reports of partial trade deal, easing of Huawei blacklist

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Asian markets rallied from early losses into positive territory in early trading Thursday, following conflicting reports of progress in the U.S.-China trade war.

Markets opened lower following a report by the South China Morning Post that “no progress” had been made in low-level meetings to lay the groundwork for a high-level meeting starting Thursday in Washington.

But a later report by Bloomberg News said the Trump administration was making moves toward a partial trade deal, including putting off tariff hikes scheduled to go into effect next week. The report said negotiations on touchier issues such as forced transfers of technologies could come later. The New York Times also reported that the U.S. would soon issue licenses to some U.S. companies to do business again with China’s Huawei Technologies, a move that could significantly ease tensions.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.29%   rose 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.18%   gained 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.19%   advanced 0.2% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.51%   jumped 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.74%   fell 0.8%, while benchmark indexes in Singapore STI, -0.12%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.11%   were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.05%   was about flat. Taiwan’s Taiex was closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, convenience-store chain FamilyMart 8028, +2.63%   rose in Tokyo trading, along with SoftBank 9984, +0.99%   and Advantest 6857, +1.62%  . In Hong Kong, AAC Technologies 2018, +6.56%   and Sunny Optical 2382, +2.49%   gained, while New World Development 17, -1.09%   retreated. LG Electronics 066570, +0.44%   advanced in South Korea while Fortescue Metals FMG, -0.70%   fell in Australia.