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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index rises for 3rd week as US yields, dollar recoil

MUMBAI (NewsRise) - Asian stocks rose for a third consecutive week, as U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar continued to retreat after a highly-anticipated news conference by Donald Trump did not elaborate more on the president-elect's fiscal policies.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.3% to 1,074.72 Friday and gained 1.4% this week, its third consecutive weekly increase. Samsung Electronics, the heaviest weighted stock on the gauge, jumped 3.5% this week. Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group led gains with a near 13% advance this week, followed by a 10% jump in Great Wall Motor Co and a 9% advance in China Vanke. Singapore's Global Logistic Properties rose nearly 8%. Telecom equipment maker ZTE, Malaysia's Axiata Group and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC were among the big losers.

U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar index, which soared to multi-year highs after Trump's unexpected election win in November, have given up some gains over the last three weeks.

On Wednesday, Trump, who is due to assume office as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, held a news conference in New York, but did not go into detail about his fiscal spending plans or possible tax cuts, weighing on U.S. yields and the greenback.

Last week, regional sentiment received a boost after the Federal Reserve's December meeting minutes indicated policymakers remain uncertain about the impact of economic policies Trump will likely adopt.

The Nikkei Asia China Index added 1.4% this week, closing up 0.5% at 1,032.17 points on Friday, while Hong Kong's index rose 2.5% for the week after advancing 0.3% to 1,017.49 points today.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery rose almost 7% Friday after Nomura upgraded the stock to buy from neutral on expectation its sales and profit will bottom out in 2017. The company's shares led gains on the 324-stock gauge with a 13% advance this week. Great Wall Motor added almost 3% Friday on upbeat profit estimates for 2016.

China Vanke rose 9% this week after adding 5.7% Friday, a day after it announced that major shareholder China Resources Group plans to sell its entire 15.3% stake to Shenzhen Metro Group in a 37.2 billion yuan ($5.40 billion) deal.

ZTE fell 4.5% this week, after Reuters reported Friday, citing company sources, that the telecom equipment maker plans to slash 3,000 jobs.

South Korea's Index added over 2% this week, helped by advances in heavyweight Samsung Electronics. The gauge slipped 0.3% to 1,149.41 points Friday. Samsung Electronics' shares remained supported by last week's announcement that fourth-quarter profit likely jumped 50% year-on-year.

Malaysia's gauge eked out a 0.5% advance for the week and was little changed at 967 points Friday. AirAsia rose almost 10% over the last five trading sessions, its first weekly advance since early November. Mobile operator Axiata fell over 4% after adding about 10% in the previous two weeks.

The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore Index advanced 2.8% this week, helped by persistent gains in financials and a jump in Global Logistic Properties. The warehouse operator rallied nearly 8% this week amid reports that Warburg Pincus, Blackstone Group and Chinese buyout firm Hopu Investment Management are mulling offers to buy GLP.

Taiwan's gauge rose 0.5% this week. Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slipped over 1% this week, weighed down by weak outlook for its first quarter. Smartphone maker HTC, which reported a 1.7% decline in December sales last week, shed 2.6% this week.

Thailand's index rose 1.1%. The Nikkei Asia300 Indonesia Index slipped 1.4% and the Philippines index fell 0.1%.

The Nikkei Asia300 India Index rose 1.4% this week. It added 0.2% to 1,028.45 points Friday, despite weakness in information technology stocks.

India's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services fell 1.4% for the week after slumping nearly 4% Friday following CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran's departure to become holding company Tata Sons' chairman. Late Thursday, TCS posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by a surge in demand for new digital technology services. Infosys slipped 2.5% Friday after Thursday's over 3% jump, but ended the week 0.4% higher. This morning, the IT major reported a better-than-expected seven percent rise in third-quarter profit.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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