Shares surge

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    SHANGHAI- Asian shares surged to more than 14-week highs as growing optimism over US-China trade talks and upbeat US job data boosted global investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 1 percent, touching its highest level since July 25.

    Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led gains in the region, rising 1.4 percent, and Seoul’s Kospi added 1.3 percent. In mainland China, blue chips were up 0.8 percent, and Australian shares were 0.3 percent higher.

    Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

    The United States and China both said on Friday that they had made progress in talks aimed at defusing their protracted 16-month-long trade war, and US officials said a deal could be signed this month.

    But in a morning note, analysts at National Australia Bank sounded a note of caution.

    “As much as the US-China trade updates continue to point to a Phase 1 deal looking like a certainty, the contentious issues on whether the US will cancel the planned December tariffs and remove some of the current tariffs in line with China’s demands remains an unknown and if the issue is not resolved then a deal could easily collapse,” they said.

    In comments on Friday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs set to kick in on Dec. 15, which would cover Chinese imports such as laptops, toys and electronics, would remain on the table, and the decision whether to cancel them would be made by US President Donald Trump.

    Any lingering uncertainty over the outlook for trade talks was not enough to keep the S&P 500 from gaining 0.97 percent and the Nasdaq rising 1.13 percent to fresh record closing highs on Friday.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.11 percent. – Reuters