Asian shares increased to seven-month highs on Wednesday as investors lapped up signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and brisk economic data, while oil approached the key $70 per barrel mark.

MSCI’s widest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was increased 0.5 percent, after previous touching its highest level since late August.

The index has climbed close to 3 percent since Thursday subsequent reports of progress in trade talks between the United States and China, as well as reassuring factory activity data from China and the U.S.

The run of gains for stock markets worldwide has also pushed MSCI’s important gauge of worldwide equities to a six-month high. The worldwide index was increase 0.2 percent on Wednesday morning.

Hopes for a deal to end the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies were fanned by new comments from White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow that Washington expects “to make more headway” in talks this week.

Nonetheless, analysts struggled to point to a clear catalyst for the extended rally in equities.

"I think there's a tendency for markets at times to just want to be positive unless you hit them repeatedly, and not just with bad news, but with new bad news," said Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of Asia-Pacific research at ING in Singapore.

"There's been an awful lot of bad news priced in. So perhaps the absences of new negatives are enough to allow for a small sense of positivity to creep in," he said.

Australia’s ASX 200 traded 0.5% higher, and Japan’s Nikkei stock index increased 0.8 percent. Chinese blue-chips were flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.7 percent.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 0.3 percent to 26, 179.13 points on Tuesday. The S&P 50 flat and the NASDAQ Composite increased 0.25 percent to 7,848.69.

"After such a strong rise it is no surprise that the risk rally stalled a little," said Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro, in a morning note to clients.

However, after a brief consolidation in risk sentiment, U.S. Treasury yields were once again ticking higher.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes yielded 2.5027 percent, up from a U.S. close of 2.479 percent on Tuesday, and the two-yield moved 2.3240 percent likened with a U.S. close of 2.308 percent.

Oil prices also rose close to multi-month highs in the midst of worries about supply, with Brent crude increasing as much as 0.72 percent per barrel, its peak since November and near the psychologically key level of $70 per barrel.

It was last up 0.55 percent at $69.75. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 0.42 percent to $62.84 per barrel.

The United States is considering more sanctions versus the Iran, the fourth-biggest manufacturer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the halting of production at a crude terminal in Venezuela threatened to squeeze supply and pushed oil prices up on Tuesday.

In currency markets, the pound was about 0.1 percent higher at $1.3139, having improved its footing after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would try to find another deferral to Brexit to work out an European Union separation deal with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The dollar strengthened 0.15 percent versus the yen to 111.48 and the euro increased 0.17 percent to buy $1.1221.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six major opponents, eased 0.16 percent to 97.206.

Cryptocurrency bitcoin, which raised 18.7 percent on Tuesday subsequent a major order by an unknown buyer, expanded its gains by another 2.6 percent to $5,027.10.

Gold was flat, with spot gold trading at $1,292.67 per ounce.

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