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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index posts weekly rebound as geopolitical tensions ease

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) - Asian stocks outside of Japan ended the week higher as geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the U.S. faded after the isolated state said it will delay plans to fire missiles toward Guam.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 1.1% during the week, climbing four out of the last five days to recoup a part of the last week's 2.6% drop. South Korea's SK Hynix and Korea Aerospace Industries were among the top gainers on the gauge this week as tensions between the North Korea and the U.S. took a backseat after Kim Jong Un said he will delay missile launches on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. This followed last week's war of words between Pyongyang and U.S. President Donald Trump that sparked global risk aversion. The country gauge for South Korea has added 3.2% since last Friday. Samsung Electronics, one of the heaviest weighted stocks on the index, rose 5.1% this week for its best weekly performance in a month.

On Friday, the Nikkei Asia300 Index fell 0.5% to 1,273.19, following an overnight selloff on Wall Street amid rising concerns about the fate of President Trump's economic agenda. Speculation that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn was resigning gripped markets on Thursday, days after several chief executive officers resigned from business advisory councils in protest over his remarks about recent violence in Virginia. Risk sentiment took another hit as 13 people were killed in Barcelona after a van mowed through crowds of tourists in the Spanish city's popular Las Ramblas avenue.

"The fall out between President Trump and corporate America was the latest blow to his weakening administration," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, wrote in a note. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him losing further support from his key Republican leaders as a result of his inadequate response to the deadly Charlottesville attacks. While this does not necessarily mean fiscal reforms are dead, it may slow down progress, which is bad news for both stocks and the dollar."

The Nikkei Asia300 China Index advanced 2.1%, while Hong Kong's gauge ended 0.8% lower in a week dominated by corporate earnings.

Heavyweight Tencent Holdings rose 4.9% for the week after reporting a better-than-expected 70% jump in quarterly earnings. Cathay Pacific Airways advanced 1.7% this week despite swinging to a loss in the first half.

Ping An Insurance Group jumped 7.5% for the week. On Thursday, the insurer reported a 6.5% increase in half-yearly profit.

Personal computer maker Lenovo Group slid 3.6% after sinking to a first-quarter loss and warning of higher costs and margin pressures.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) rose 4.9% over Monday and Tuesday before trading was halted. On Wednesday, the telecommunications company reported upbeat half-yearly results and said strategic investors including Tencent and Alibaba Group Holding will invest nearly $12 billion in its controlling shareholder under China's public-private ownership reforms. Trading in the shares remains suspended, and on Thursday reports from Caixin and other Chinese media organizations said China United Network Communications has temporarily dropped plans to accept the capital injection.

Taiwan's index lost 0.2% this week, while the Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index shed 0.2%.

India's index advanced 1.3% this week despite steep losses in technology major Infosys on Friday after its Chief Executive Officer Vishal Sikka resigned. Infosys slumped 9.6% on Friday, ending the week 6.5% lower despite a 4.5% jump on Thursday after it announced a share buyback.

--Suzannah Benjamin and V. Phani Kumar

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