SHANGHAI -- Asian shares ticked higher on Wednesday as more upbeat signals from Sino-US trade talks fanned hopes of an imminent end to tariff hostilities, which helped offset concerns about a slowing US economy.
The positive mood pushed Wall Street indexes to fresh record closing highs on Tuesday and stoked confidence in early Asian trade with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.14 percent. Australian shares added 0.46 percent and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.41 percent.
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that 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.
Nevertheless, the comments were enough to offset soft economic data from the US, which showed a fourth straight monthly contraction in consumer confidence and an unexpected drop in new home sales.
Some analysts said that a fall in US bond yields on Tuesday also pointed to more mechanical explanations beyond trade for rising equity prices.
"It reinforces the notion that it really is the Fed pump-priming to grease the wheels of market liquidity which is driving both these moves," Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro, said in a morning note.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent to 28,121.68, the S&P 500 gained 0.22 percent to 3,140.52 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.18 percent to 8,647.93. All three indexes notched record closing highs.
On Wednesday, the rally in US Treasuries moderated across most of the curve, with benchmark 10-year notes yielding 1.7465 percent, up from their US close of 1.74 percent on Tuesday.
The two-year yield, watched as a guide to market expectations of Fed policy, rose to 1.5939 percent compared with a US close of 1.586 percent.
In currency markets, the dollar strengthened 0.07 percent against the yen to 109.11 and the euro was slightly weaker, buying $1.1015.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.05 percent at 98.301.
Oil prices retreated after rising Tuesday on reassuring trade headlines. US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.36% at $58.20 per barrel.
Gold was lower, changing hands at $1,459.99 per ounce on the spot market.