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Nikkei Asia300 Index end week higher as US indexes scale fresh records

MUMBAI (NewsRise) – Asian stocks rose this week, as renewed strength in U.S. indexes after President Donald Trump’s inauguration and upbeat corporate earnings propped up investor sentiment

   The Nikkei Asia300 Index ended 0.1% higher at 1,098.37 points Friday, marking its fifth consecutive advance and capping the week off with a 2.5% gain. India’s Adani Enterprises led gains with a 19% rally this week, while financial heavyweight Housing Development Finance Corp added over 10%. Malaysia’s Sime Darby jumped over 8% and the heaviest weighted stock on the gauge Samsung Electronics rose over 7% after it reported quarterly earnings. Leshi Internet Information & Technology and Hyundai Motor fell about 7% each.

   U.S. indexes soared to fresh record highs this week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally breaching the 20,000 mark for the first time ever. Ongoing optimism about Trump’s economic policies picked up pace after he signed orders to reduce regulatory burdens on local manufacturers and to smoothen the path for  the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines that will expand energy infrastructure. Positive December quarter earnings from blue chip companies also helped boost sentiment.

   Still, the dollar remained on the back foot, heading for a third weekly loss, amid concerns about the new President’s protectionist trade policies. Since assuming office last Friday, Trump has signed an executive order pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and is pressing forward with this plan to build a wall along the nation’s border with Mexico.

   The Nikkei Asia300 China Index ended the week 1.9% higher. Chinese markets were shut today and will remained closed till Feb. 2 for Lunar New Year holidays.

   Hong Kong’s index added 2.3% this week after rising 0.5% to 1,043.72 points Friday. Markets in the city closed early today and will remain shut Monday and Tuesday.

   China Shenhua Energy jumped over 5% in Hong Kong this week after it issued a profit alert for 2016 and also propped up by hopes authorities’ efforts to shut down small coal miners’ operations would benefit the larger players.

   Leshi Internet Information & Technology slumped 7% in Shenzhen this week after rising nearly 10% the week before. Sunac China Holdings’ move to commit a $2.2 billion investment in group assets has been supportive of the stock this month.

   The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore Index added 2.3% this week, while neighboring Malaysia’s gauge rose 1.8%.

   Heavyweight lenders in Singapore rose amid bets the rise in U.S. yields will boost net interest margins for banks in the city-state. DBS Group Holdings added almost 5% this week, while yields on the 10-year U.S. benchmark bond were five basis points higher so far.

   In Malaysia, plantations-to-motoring conglomerate Sime Darby was the top performer, rising over 8% after it said it will spin off its plantation and property segments in separate listings on the local stock exchange.

   Singapore’s gauge slipped 0.3% to 1,052.03 points Friday in truncated trade, while Malaysia’s index rose 0.2% to 986.99 points. Markets in Singapore and Malaysia closed early Friday and will remain shut on Monday for Chinese New Year.

   South Korea’s index rose 3.6% this week, propped by stellar gains in heavyweight tech giant Samsung Electronics after its quarterly earnings came in in line with expectations. The nation’s markets were closed Friday and will reopen Tuesday.

   Taiwan’s index added 2% for the week, while Indonesia’s gauge advanced 1.1%. The Nikkei Asia300 Vietnam Index gained 1.5%, while that in the Philippines rose 1.4%.

   Markets in Taiwan have been closed from Wednesday and will reopen on Feb. 2, while Vietnam is closed Thursday through Feb. 1.

   India’s gauge rose 0.6% to 1,053.25 Friday, ending the week 2.5% higher. Mortgage lending heavyweight Housing Development Finance Corp. jumped almost 11% this week, its best weekly performance since 2009.  Upbeat earnings from other financial companies propped up the stock ahead of its results on Monday.

   Local markets are hoping the annual budget, due next week, will outline some incentives especially after New Delhi’s demonetization move last November slowed economic activity in the world’s second most populous nation.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil


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