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Asia300

Asian stocks rise as Trump reiterates U.S. tax cut plans

HONG KONG (NewsRise) -- Asian shares rose Wednesday, tracking a rally in U.S. stock futures, after President Donald Trump told U.S. lawmakers he wanted to cut corporate taxes.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.2% to 1,130.69. U.S. index futures rose and Wall Street was set to resume gains after Trump reiterated he wanted to cut corporate taxes and provide tax relief to the middle class. He did not provide any specifics.

Upbeat factory activity data out of China also helped regional stocks gain. China's official February manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose faster-than-expected to a three-month high of 51.6 in February. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing PMI, which focuses more on mid- and small-sized companies, also beat expectations, rising to 51.7 last month as compared to 51 in January.

The Nikkei Asia300 China index, however, fell 0.2% to 1,077.13. The country's President Xi Jinping said China must crackdown on financial irregularities and illegal behaviour and will discuss measures to tackle debt issues, Reuters reported citing Xinhua. Agricultural Bank of China slipped 0.8% and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 1%.

The Nikkei Asia300 Hong Kong index rose 1.2% to 1,083.53. Galaxy Entertainment Group jumped 5.5%to HK$39.25 after Macau gross gaming revenues rose by a better-than-expected 18% in February, compared with a 3% growth in the previous month.

Sun Hung Kai, which Tuesday reported a 40% increase in profit for the six months ended Dec. 31, rose 1.9% to HK$115.60. Henderson Land Development rose 0.9%, as Hong Kong home prices rose to another record in January, according to South China Morning Post citing data from the Ratings and Valuation Department.

China Communications Construction rallied 7.8% to HK$10.8 after it said late Tuesday that value of new contracts for the group rose by 12.4% in 2016 to 730.80 billion yuan.

The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore index rose 0.8% to 1,088.18. Keppel Corp. jumped 4% and Sembcorp Marine, a unit of Sembcorp Industries, rallied 7%, amid hopes that stabilizing crude oil prices will be positive for the earnings outlook of rig builders.

The rise in U.S. borrowing costs on Wednesday amid hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials, and increased odds of a rate hike this month, helped banks. DBS Group Holdings rose 0.5% while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation added 0.7%.

The Nikkei Asia300 Malaysia index rose by 0.3% to 991.59. CIMB Group Holdings rose 2.4%, extending its rally after reporting a 25% jump in profit in 2016.

MMC Corp. slipped 0.4%, trimming its gains since the start of the year to 7.3%. It said late Tuesday net income for the fourth quarter rose more than 50% to 267.4 million ringgit.

South Korea's gauge rose 0.5% to 1,212.39. Samsung Electronics added 1% after it said late Tuesday that it had acquired artificial intelligence company Viv Labs for 238.9 billion won ($211.55 million).

India's index gained 1% to 1,112.49, as financial stocks rebounded after the nation's economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the final three months of 2016. The economy expanded 7% in the quarter. Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp. gained 1.7% to 1,392 rupees, leading gains in financial stocks.

Indonesia's gauge was little changed at 1,227.18.

Nikkei Asia300 Thailand index rose 0.6% to 1,218.28 while the Philippine index slipped 0.7% to 971.55. Vietnam rose 1% to 1,112.48 but Taiwan index closed down 0.9% at 1,236.90.

--V. Phani Kumar and Nimesh Vora

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