Asian markets higher as reports of progress on US-China deal

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SYDNEY/TOKYO/SHANGHAI
Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday with modest gains as investors awaited further progress on a potential U.S.-China trade deal. On Saturday, Chinese state media said that the U.S. and China had “constructive discussions” regarding a phase-one trade deal in a high-level phone call. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong also weighed on sentiment.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.5% while the Topix index traded slightly higher. Shares of Z Holdings formerly known as Yahoo Japan and Line rose more than 1% and 2%, respectively. The moves came as Softbank Corp announced plans to merge Z holdings, its subsidiary, with Naver’s Line.
Mainland Chinese stocks recovered from an earlier slip to rise by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite up 0.6% and the Shenzhen composite gaining 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1%, as shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent jumped by over 2%.
In currency markets, the dollar was little changed against its main peers on Monday and well within recent tight trading ranges. Indeed, volatility in the market has been the lowest in decades recently and shows no sign of shifting. Oil prices were supported after Brent touched a seven-week high on Friday.

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