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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index rises for 2nd week on upbeat factory output data

MUMBAI (NewsRise) - Asian stocks rose for a second week, starting the New Year on a high, as upbeat manufacturing data from the world's largest economies helped risk assets recover from a selloff sparked by the threat of rising U.S. borrowing costs.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.8% to 1,059.55 points on Friday and gained 2.6% this week, its second consecutive weekly increase. China Life Insurance, China Vanke and China Railway Construction (CRCC) contributed the most to this week's gains, while AirAsia, China Mengniu Dairy and China Construction Bank (CCB) fell. All Asian markets, except South Korea and India, were closed Monday for New Year's Day.

Global indexes started the year on a positive note after China reported better-than-expected factory activity numbers for December, allaying concerns of a slowdown in Asia's largest economy. The data was followed by an upbeat U.S. manufacturing print for the month, which also lifted global sentiment.

Regional demand got another boost as the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields slipped after the Federal Reserve's December meeting minutes indicated policymakers remain uncertain about the impact of economic policies that President-elect Donald Trump will likely adopt.

Recent strength in the yuan amid speculation that Chinese authorities were safeguarding the currency ahead of Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20 also boosted Asian investor sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia China Index rose 2.3% this week, closing up 0.4% at 1,018.93 points on Friday, while Hong Kong's index added 3.2% this week. The city's gauge closed 0.2% higher at 993.10 points on Friday.

China Shenhua Energy ended the week with a near 6% gain in Hong Kong. Earlier this week, the coal miner said it will purchase wealth-management products of as much as 33 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank (CCB). PetroChina rose 4.5% this week.

Lenovo Group rose 5.5% for the week. The personal-computer maker on Tuesday announced the launch of a smart-home technology in collaboration with Amazon.

South Korea's Index rose 3.3% this week, jumping 2.4% on Friday to close at 1,123.34 points. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics surged 1.8% to 1.810 million won on Friday after the smartphone maker said fourth-quarter profit likely jumped 50% year-on-year, despite earnings taking a hit from the withdrawal of its Galaxy Note 7 device in October. Detailed earnings for the October-December quarter will likely be released later this month.

Malaysia's gauge rose 1.3% to 962.66 points on Friday, capping off 2.5% gains for the week. AirAsia fell 3% this week. Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank Research downgraded the airline to "sell" from "hold," citing higher jet fuel prices, a weaker ringgit and the impact of higher capacity among competitors, The Star newspaper reported Thursday. The stock rose 2.3% to 2.22 ringgit on Friday.

The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore Index advanced 4.2% this week, while Taiwan's gauge rose 2.9%.

The Nikkei Asia300 India Index rose 0.9% this week. The gauge ended 0.4% lower on Friday at 1,013.97 points. Indian Oil was the best performer on India's 44-stock gauge this week, rising 6.5%, after price increases for cooking gas, kerosene and aviation turbine fuel. Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki India rose at least 5% for the week.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Nimesh Vora

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