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Asia300

India, South Korea lead Nikkei Asia300 Index higher

HONG KONG (NewsRise) - The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced Tuesday, as Indian shares advanced after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party received a shot in the arm following a key state-election win, and South Korean equities extended gains.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 0.9% or almost 10 points to 1,140.81. India's 44-stock gauge rose 2.1% to 1,129.56 after Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party won elections in the nation's most populous state, boosting the prime minister's chances of winning general elections in 2019 and improving the party's standing in the upper house of parliament. Heavyweight lender ICICI Bank jumped almost 6%, while consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever rose 4.5%.

South Korea's index added 2.4% to 1,253.01 Tuesday. On Friday, the nation's top court removed President Park Geun-hye from office after months of uncertainty surrounding a graft scandal involving local conglomerates. Samsung Electronics, the heaviest weighted stock on the 316-company index, rose 1.9%.

Caution ahead of the Federal Reserve's second rate-setting meeting of 2017 weighed on the rest of the region as the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise rates and possibly signal a faster pace of tightening going forward. The Fed, which has raised rates only twice in almost a decade, will announce its decision on Wednesday.

The Nikkei Asia300 China Index eked out a 0.2% advance to end at 1,086.24.

Data released Tuesday showed China's industrial production rose 6.3% in the January-February period, while fixed-asset investment grew 8.9%, with both ahead of estimates. Retail sales for the period missed estimates, growing 9.5%. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.1%.

Hong Kong's gauge ended little changed at 1,077.70. The city's property developers New World Development, Hang Lung Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties all fell at least 1% amid concerns the currency's peg to the dollar will result in higher mortgage rates at home after the Fed's likely rate increase.

The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore index slipped 0.1% to 1,081.14 as developers retreated after recent gains triggered by the government's relaxation of property cooling measures. City Development fell 1.8% after rising over 8% in the previous two sessions.

Malaysia's index rose 0.2% to 1,007.71.

In the rest of Southeast Asia, Indonesia's index rose 0.7% to 1,234.63, while Philippines' gauge advanced 0.5% to 980.05. The Nikkei Asia300 Thailand Index and Vietnam's gauge eked out 0.1% advances.

--V. Phani Kumar and Nimesh Vora

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