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Asia stocks gain after US rebound on trade hopes 

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JAPAN-STOCKS-MARKETS
(File photo) / AFP

Stocks in Asia followed U.S. equities higher as investors reassessed the danger of a trade-damaging spiral of tariff increases in the world’s top two economies. Treasuries extended declines and the yen fell.

Japanese and South Korean shares led gains in the region and Australian equities advanced, with markets in China and Hong Kong closed Thursday for holidays. U.S. equity-index futures gained. The S&P 500 Index swung from a loss to close up 1.2 percent, and 10-year Treasury yields turned higher, after traders’ optimism grew that the U.S. and China will step back from the brink of a trade war. Representatives from China and the U.S. left the door open for a negotiated solution to avoid tariff proposals that wouldn’t take effect for months.

Federal Reserve officials highlighted the difficulty in assessing the impact of the trade dispute uncertainty to an otherwise bright economic outlook. A board member, Lael Brainard, said trade policy is “certainly something that I take into account, in thinking about risks.”

Investors are adapting to intraday swings in equities after years of relative calm. They are having to weigh the growing protectionist rhetoric between the U.S. and China against the chances of measures having a meaningful effect on the still-upbeat global growth picture.

Elsewhere, oil gained after a larger-than-expected drop in crude stockpiles. Bitcoin held below $7,000. Gold retreated as risk aversion faded.

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Here are some key events on the calendar for the remainder of this week:

U.S. employment data are due Friday; the jobless rate probably fell in March after holding at 4.1 percent for five straight months. The Reserve Bank of India decides on policy Thursday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks
Japan’s Topix index gained 1.3 percent as of 1 p.m. in Tokyo. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 1.5 percent. Futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.4 percent. The underlying gauge gained 1.2 percent Wednesday.

Currencies
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. The yen declined 0.1 percent 106.92 per dollar. The euro rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.2285.

Bonds
The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 2.81 percent. Australia’s 10-year yield rose about two basis points to 2.65 percent.

Commodities
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.5 percent to $63.67 a barrel. Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,330.14 an ounce. — Bloomberg

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