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Shares in Asia mostly gain, focus on Trump trade

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Investing.com - Asian shares were mostly higher on Friday inc cautious trade as investors eyed U.S. political developments on a healthcare bill that is seen as a litmus test of President Donald Trump's ability to get ambitious tax and spending plans passed as well.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.96% with a strike at BHP's Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, expected to end after workers decided to invoke a rarely used legal provision to allow them to extend their old contract.

Australia's major miners were all positive. Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) added 0.83%, Fortescue Metals was higher by 1.12% and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) was up 0.7%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.95% as the yen held steady, while the Shanghai Composite was flat and the Hang Seng index inched up 0.13% as traders looked to the Hong Kong chief executive election on March 26. This will be the first election since the pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution" protests in 2014.

Overnight, U.S. stocks reversed gains to close lower on Thursday, after GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote on a bill to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare.

U.S. equities traded mostly positive throughout the session but came unstuck as investors viewed the GOP House leaders' decision to delay the vote, as a major setback for President Donald Trump in his first major legislative test.

Trump took to twitter earlier on Thursday in an attempt to encourage Republican constituents to call on their Republic leaders, to support the healthcare bill.

On the line are expectations for pro-growth policies such as tax-reform had been a key driver for the recent rally in U.S. stocks.

On the economic data front, The Commerce Department said on Thursday new home sales increased 6.1 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month compared to expectations of a 0.7% increase to 565,000 units.

Elsewhere, initial jobless claims increased by 15,000 to 258,000 in the week ending March 18 from the previous week's revised total of 243,000 against analysts' expectations of a drop by 1,000 to 240,000.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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