TOKYO - Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday after the U.S. said it would hold off on tariffs of Chinese imports of mobile phones, toys and several other items typically on holiday shopping lists.
Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.2% in early trading to 20,691.10, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5% to 6,598.50. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.3% to 1,951.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.3% to 25,618.67. The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.9% to 2,822.30.
Also boosting investor sentiments were comments from China that the two sides held discussions on trade overnight and would talk again the next two weeks.
The benchmark S&P 500 snapped a two-day losing streak and rose 42.57 points, or 1.5%, to 2,926.32. It had been up as much as 2.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 372.54 points, or 1.4%, to 26,279.91. The average briefly climbed 519 points. The Nasdaq composite jumped 152.95 points, or 1.9%, to 8,016.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 16.30 points, or 1.1%, to 1,510.58.
The markets have been in the spin cycle since President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 1 that he would impose 10% tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese imports, which would be on top of 25% tariffs already in place on $250 billion of imports. The threat dashed hopes that a resolution may come soon in the trade war between the world's two largest economies, and investors have grown increasingly concerned that it may drag on through the U.S. elections in 2020.
On Tuesday, The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it would delay the tariffs on some products, including popular consumer goods, until Dec. 15. A few other products were removed altogether, including certain types of fish and baby seats.
But some analysts were cautious.
"Markets are responding with muted relief to the latest round in the trade saga - but nothing has really changed," said Robert Carnell, chief economist head of research, Asia-Pacific, at ING.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 48 cents to $56.62 a barrel. It rose $2.17, or 4%, to $57.10 per barrel Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 37 cents $60.93.
The dollar rose to 106.42 Japanese yen from 105.16 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1176 from $1.1217.
AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Alex Veiga contributed to this report.