NEW DELHI : Indian stock markets may consolidate further on Wednesday. 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 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%. Australian shares added 0.46% and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.41%.

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 on telephone and agreed to keep working on remaining issues. But while Trump said Washington was in the "final throes" of work on the 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.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 28,121.68, the S&P 500 gained 0.22% to 3,140.52 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.18% to 8,647.93. All three indexes notched record closing highs.

Back home, Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund risks losing a part of 792 crore that it invested in Essel companies, as the Subhash Chandra-led group has failed to sell four road projects that secured the borrowings, despite trying for nearly a year. The fund, one of India’s largest asset managers, has already “side-pocketed" its assets under management in three schemes, Aditya Birla Sun Life told investors on Monday.

Small borrowers, whose default rates have traditionally been among the lowest in India, are increasingly missing loan repayments as rising unemployment and stagnant-to-declining wages put pressure on finances of small companies as well as households. One of the categories of borrowers that have been the worst hit are those that have availed small loans under the government’s Mudra scheme designed to encourage micro-entrepreneurship. So much so, the central bank Tuesday asked bankers to monitor defaults in Mudra loans closely.

Over 12,000 employees of state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) who have threatened to go on strike on 28 November against the Union government’s decision to privatise the company may see workers’ unions of other public sector entities join them in solidarity.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the rally in US Treasuries moderated across most of the curve, with benchmark 10-year notes yielding 1.7465%, up from their US close of 1.74% on Tuesday.

The two-year yield, watched as a guide to market expectations of Fed policy, was at 1.5939% compared with a US close of 1.586%.

In currency markets, the dollar strengthened 0.07% 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% at 98.301.

Oil prices retreated after rising Tuesday on reassuring trade headlines. US West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was down 0.36% at $58.20 per barrel.

Gold was lower, changing hands at $1,459.99 per ounce on the spot market.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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