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Global Markets: Asian Shares Up As Investors Cheer 'Phase One' Sino-US Trade Deal

Positive sentiment helped push the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to its highest level since April 18. It was last up by 0.35 per cent.

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A broad gauge of Asian share markets hit nearly eight-month highs on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a preliminary trade deal, and amid policy-easing hopes in Australia, but profit-taking and caution over the deal's details capped gains.

The US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday said a deal was "totally done", notwithstanding some needed revisions, and would nearly double U.S. exports to China over the next two years.

Positive sentiment helped push the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to its highest level since April 18. It was last up by 0.35%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 led the way as it jumped 1.74%, while shares in Taiwan added 0.23%.

Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec in Sydney, said that the trade deal and the receding risk of a disorderly Brexit after the UK general election produced a strong Conservative majority provided support for sentiment in Australia.

A lower-than-expected Australian budget surplus due to a sluggish economy has "built expectations by markets for further easing from the Reserve Bank (of Australia)," he said, explaining the strong performance of Aussie shares.

Chinese investors had a more tepid reaction to the trade news, with the blue-chip CSI300 index finding little impetus to rise further after trade hopes fanned a nearly 2% rise on Friday, despite data showing the country's industrial output growth and retail sales jumped more than expected in November.

The CSI300 index was down 0.01% at the midday break.

Japan's Nikkei 225 succumbed to some profit-taking, easing 0.05% after surging 2.55% to a 14-month closing high on Friday.

The "phase one" agreement suspended a threatened round of U.S. tariffs on a $160 billion list of Chinese imports that was scheduled to take effect on Sunday. The United States also agreed to halve the tariff rate, to 7.5%, on $120 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Felsman at CommSec said the deal was a positive factor in the market, but investors awaited further details. The reduction in U.S. tariffs may have also disappointed some investors looking for more aggressive action, he added.

"Certainly there were expectations perhaps that the rollback would be more significant than just 50%," he said.

The 17-month-old trade dispute between the world's two largest economies has roiled financial markets and taken a toll on world economic growth.

"The announcement is a step in the right direction for the two nations, but does not completely reduce the chances of trade disputes between the two nations in the year," ANZ analysts said in a morning note.

U.S. shares had struck a cautious note on Friday, paring initial gains to end barely higher as weary investors awaited signs of a concrete deal.

However, the news of a deal was still enough to send the S&P 500 to a record closing high of 3,168.8, up 0.01%. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.2% to end at 8,734.88, also a record, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.01% to 28,135.38.

U.S. Treasury yields moved higher on Monday, reflecting a more positive mood. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.84% compared with their U.S. close of 1.821% on Friday, and the two-year yield touched 1.6221% compared with a U.S. close of 1.604%.

The dollar was slightly higher against the yen at 109.38 and the euro was up 0.12% at $1.1132. Sterling, which jumped last week after the UK election, gained 0.48% to $1.3389.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.11% at 97.067.

Oil prices, which had risen on Friday following the deal, cooled in early Asian trade on Monday. Brent crude shed 0.37% to $64.98 per barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.40% at $59.83 per barrel.

Spot gold prices fell 0.06%, with the precious metal trading hands at $1,474.63 per ounce.


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