MUMBAI (NewsRise) - Asian stocks ended little changed Thursday after adding almost 4% in 2017 so far, as investors consolidated gains following President-elect Donald Trump's press conference that offered no further clarity on future fiscal policies.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index ended 0.02% lower at 1,071.51. The index, which tracks over 300 of Asia's most influential companies, has advanced almost 4% since the start of 2017, ending higher for seven out of the nine trading sessions this year. Technology stocks Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services were the biggest contributors to gains Thursday, while PetroChina and CNOOC fell.
On Wednesday, Trump, due to assume office as the forty-fifth President of the United States on Jan. 20, held a news conference in New York, but did not go into further details about his fiscal spending plans or possible tax cuts. U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar retreated after the event.
In the weeks following Trump's unexpected election win, bets that his policies will spur inflation and boost growth in the world's largest economy lifted U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar to multi-year highs, while Wall Street indexes set records. Emerging market investors have been concerned about the threat of rising U.S. borrowing costs and the businessman-turned-politician's protectionist trade policies. The Federal Reserve, which raised rates for the first time in a year last month, has signaled three more rate increases in 2017.
Regional assets also have shown signs of a rebound over the last two weeks after the Fed's December meeting minutes revealed policymakers' uncertainty about the impact of Trump's policies, sparking a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar.
The Nikkei Asia300 China index slipped 0.4% to 1,026.87 points, while Hong Kong's gauge shed 0.8% to 1,013.95 points. PetroChina extended losses to slip 0.8% in Hong Kong, while CNOOC shed 1.1%, erasing Wednesday's entire advance.
South Korea's index added half a percent to end at 1,153.05. Samsung Electronics rose 1.4% to 1.940 million won, a fresh record high.
Taiwan's gauge rose 1% to 1,169.08 points, helped by a rebound in heavyweight chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which rose 1.4% to T$184.50. The world's largest contract chipmaker is due to report fourth-quarter earnings later today.
The Nikkei Asia300 Malaysia Index rose 0.3% to 966.50, led by gains of at least 1% in Hong Leong Financial Group and SapuraKencana Petroleum. Singapore's index fell 0.3% to 1,016.17 points, dragged down by an over 4% decline in Banyan Tree Holdings and losses of at least 1% each in Singapore Press Holdings and Singapore Post.
India's gauge eked out a 0.1% advance to end at 1,026.12 points. Information technology bellwether Infosys jumped 3.2% ahead of its third-quarter results on Friday. Tata Consultancy Services 0.9%. Shortly after markets closed, the software major reported a near 11% jump in third-quarter profit.
The Nikkei Asia300 Philippines Index slipped 1.1% to 995.90, while Thailand's gauge shed 0.4% and Vietnam's index slipped 0.3% to end at 1,257.31.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil