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Asian Stock Markets Mostly Higher; China, U.S. To Discuss Trade Dispute on Friday

Asian stocks were mostly higher in afternoon trade – Asian stocks were mostly higher in afternoon trade on Friday after soft inflation data released on Thursday sent U.S. equities to the highest levels in seven weeks, as investors trimmed expectations for four rate hikes after the inflation report showed prices pressures remained weak.

U.S. consumer prices rose by less than forecast in April as costs for automobiles and airfares declined, official data on Thursday said.

Chinese and U.S. officials are set to meet on Friday in Washington to discuss trade disputes between the two nations, reports suggested, although the precise timing and details of the meetings were not disclosed.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component underperformed their regional peers and were 0.2% and 0.6% lower respectively by 1:30PM ET (05:30 GMT), while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4%.

Meanwhile, Reports that U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore received some attention.

The meeting, which would be held on June 12, would be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president.

“We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump said in a Twitter message on Thursday.

Mahathir Mohamad, who won the Malaysia election on Thursday, said in his first remarks after being sworn in as prime minister that he would lead a “business-friendly administration”, and ensured that he would look for ways to boost Malaysia’s stock market. The 92-year-old politician said he would focus on improving the economy and reducing debt, adding that Malaysia would seek friendly ties with other countries as a trading nation.

“Our concern over the economy is the main thing,” Mahathir told reporters. “We would like to tell the business people to push up the value of the stock market. And on the currency, there is no cause to devalue the ringgit. We should ensure this.”

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.0% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were little changed at 6119.9.

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