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Asia300

Nikkei A300 Index edges higher as India stocks advance

Most regional markets were closed for the Lunar New Year

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- The Nikkei Asia300 Index edged higher on Tuesday, helped by modest gain in India stocks as most regional markets were closed for the Chinese New Year.

The A300 Index added 0.03% to 1,290.14. IndusInd Bank advanced 2.6% to lead an Indian index of private lenders on the NSE higher by 0.3%.

Coal India fell 2.5% to 216.55 rupees. On Tuesday, the miner approved a share buyback proposal of up to 44.7 million shares, representing 0.72% of the total outstanding share capital, at 235 rupees each. Indian fuel retailers were mostly lower ahead of the December-quarter earnings of Hindustan Petroleum. Shares of Hindustan Petroleum slipped 0.9% while Indian Oil declined 1.8%. In Thailand,Kasikornbank fell 1% and Advanced Info Service slid 0.3%.

On Tuesday, markets in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Taiwan were closed for the Lunar New Year.

The losses on Thai equities came a day ahead of the Bank of Thailand's monetary policy review. All the 20 analysts polled by Reuters expect the Southeast Asian nation's central bank to maintain its one-day repurchase rate at 1.75%. In December, the central bank had raised the rate by a quarter percentage points after keeping rates unchanged for three years.

In India, the three-day meeting of the nation's Monetary Policy Committee got underway Tuesday. Following the conclusion of the meeting, the MPC is expected to soften its stance to "neutral" from "calibrated tightening" in the wake of reduced inflationary pressures. The benchmark repo rate is expected to remain unchanged at 6.50% after the recent expansionary interim budget.

Meanwhile, U.S. equities rose Monday, building on last week's advance amid a robust jobs report and a dovish Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 Index closed 0.7% higher to reach two-month highs. The U.S. 10-year yield climbed above 2.70% on Monday and the dollar index added 0.3%.

Elsewhere in Asia on Tuesday, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index ended down 0.2%.

--Nimesh Vora

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