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    SHANGHAI – Asian shares rose as upbeat signals from Sino-US trade talks fanned hopes of an easing of tariff hostilities, while expectations the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low supported sentiment.

    The positive mood pushed Wall Street indexes to fresh record closing highs on Tuesday and stoked confidence in Asia with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.19 percent. Australian shares added 0.65 percent and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.36 percent.

    Chinese blue-chip shares, in contrast, dropped 0.39 percent after the data showed profits at China’s industrial firms declined in annual terms for the third consecutive month in October, tracking sustained drops in producer prices and exports and underscoring slowing momentum in the world’s second-largest economy.

    US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States and China are close to agreement on the first phase of a trade deal after top negotiators from the two countries spoke by telephone and agreed to keep working on remaining issues.

    But while Trump said Washington was in the “final throes” of work on a trade deal with Beijing, he also underscored US support for protesters in Hong Kong, seen as a sore point for Beijing.

    Trump’s comments came alongside softer-than-expected economic data from the United States, which showed a fourth straight monthly contraction in consumer confidence and an unexpected drop in new home sales in October.

    However, consumer confidence still remained at levels able to support steady consumer spending, and the housing data for September was revised up, with purchases touching more than 12-year highs.

    Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore, said while US-China trade headlines may be driving some tactical, near-term moves in the market, they were mostly just “noise”.

    The broader market direction is “about the accommodative Fed and accommodative monetary policy and the fact that structurally the meta-trend is still lower in yields and rates,” he said. – Reuters