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Asia300

Apple, Wall Street gains spur advances in Malaysia, Singapore stocks

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Shares in Malaysia and Singapore rose Wednesday as Asian stocks extended their recent rally, tracking overnight Wall Street gains.

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record high for a fifth straight day. Global markets have not been affected by the recent U.S. political uncertainty over the healthcare bill, which has dragged the dollar index down to multi-month lows. Investor focus has remained on corporate earnings as a number of companies posted better-than-expected profits.

iPhone maker Apple was the latest in the U.S. to report robust earnings, with its profit and revenues both beating estimates. The stock was up over 6% in extended U.S. trading. The Nasdaq futures climbed 0.8% Wednesday.

"Once again, earnings have been the engines at work," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based brokerage IG. "There is little doubt that the highlight overnight had been Apple."

Most Asian markets rose Wednesday with the Nikkei Asia300 index of companies outside Japan adding 0.2%, led by technology stocks.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.3% to 1,770.61. An index of technology companies climbed 1%, hovering close to record highs.

CIMB Group Holdings rose 0.8% and MISC added 3.3%, pacing advance on the KLCI on Wednesday.

Only World Group Holdings fell 5%. "The company's proposed 10% private placement has raised earnings dilution concern in near term. Its earnings also missed expectations since the IPO," AmInvestment Bank analyst Philip Wong said. The amusement park operator has lost over 20% since proposing a private placement of up to 24.3 million shares on July 7.

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index ended higher by 0.3% to 3,348.80. DBS Group Holdings was the biggest contributor to the advance by points, climbing 1.1%. Wilmar International was the biggest percentage gainer, climbing 2.4%.

StarHub fell 0.4%. After markets closed, the mobile operator reported a 21% fall in second-quarter profit.

OUE Hospitality Trust rose 1.3% after reporting a distribution per unit growth of 31.5% for the second quarter.

Supply chain engineering company CWT added 0.5% after reporting an over 250% increase in net profit for the second quarter.

Singapore Technologies Engineering rose 0.5%. Its electronics arm, ST Electronics, infused additional capital amounting to S$12.6 million ($9.2 million) into its Thailand subsidiary.

--By Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim

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