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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index climbs for fourth day on earnings, U.S. tax cut hopes

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as upbeat earnings expectations, combined with optimism over the U.S. government's tax plans and French presidential elections, lifted investor sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of some of the region's most influential companies added 0.6%, or 6.67 points, to 1,190. Hyundai Motor jumped 4.5% in Seoul after the automaker reported a smaller-than-expected decline in first-quarter profit and flagged expectations for a gradual recovery. Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China jumped at least 3.7% in Hong Kong after fellow casino operator Wynn Macau's first-quarter earnings beat estimates, reinforcing optimism over improving prospects in the gaming enclave.

Going the other way, software developer Wipro slid 0.7% in Mumbai after issuing a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast for the April-to-June quarter.

Overnight advances on Wall Street amid expectations that Donald Trump's administration will provide more detail on the U.S. president's promised tax cuts underpinned the buoyant sentiment. The gains extend Tuesday's rally in the wake of a victory for pro-European Union candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of French presidential elections.

"The French election result has released a risk aversion handbrake for world equity markets," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a report. "Macron's likely election has allowed a positive response to what is now shaping up as a strong quarterly profit reporting season. With around 30% of companies in the S&P 500 index having reported March quarter results, there is a strong bias to positive surprises compared to already strong consensus expectations."

The Nikkei Asia300 Hong Kong Index climbed 1%, among the strongest performers in the region, while the country index for China added 0.1%. China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance Group gained at least 0.8% to pace the financial sector before the two insurance majors report earnings on Thursday.

China Vanke lost 2.6% in Hong Kong following reports that authorities in the Chinese city of Xian had halted the company's sales on suspicion of illegal property transactions.

Among Southeast Asian markets, the Indonesian gauge was the strongest performer as it rallied 1.3%. The advance came in spite of data showing foreign direct investment into the region's largest economy grew at the slowest pace in at least five years during the first quarter. Bank Central Asia and Bank Mandiri advanced 2.4% or more.

Country indexes for South Korea, India, Malaysia and the Philippines increased 0.8% or more while that for Taiwan improved 0.4%.

--Nimesh Vora and V. Phani Kumar

--Nikkei Markets is a real-time financial news service for South East Asia's markets published by Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd, a Nikkei and NewsRise joint venture company. Nikkei Markets provides wide companies coverage in the region, including the Nikkei's Asia300 companies.

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