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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 index edges higher for week as technology stocks advance

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rose this week, as heavyweight Tencent Holdings led a rally in technology stocks. Gains were also supported by China's second-quarter growth exceeding estimates.

The Nikkei Asia300 index slipped 0.2% to 1,284.16 on Friday, but still managed a 0.8% advance this week. H-shares of China Merchants Port Holdings jumped 11% in the week after saying that it expects an increase of at least 50% in first-half net profit. Hong Kong-listed shares of ZTE Corp. have risen 8.3% since last Friday after the telecom equipment maker said first-half profit rose 30%. On Friday, China Merchants rose 1.8%, while ZTE slipped 2.4%. The country index for China fell 0.2% on Friday, trimming its advance this week to 1.5%.

Tencent ended unchanged on Friday. The tech major has rallied 4.3% since last Friday amid reports that China had partially blocked service of rival messaging app WhatsApp and as U.S. technology stocks extended their rally for the 10th straight day through Thursday. Another index heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 0.2% on Friday, but closed higher by 1.2% this week.

China's gross domestic product for the second quarter grew by a faster-than-expected pace of 6.9% amid a pickup in industrial output, data showed earlier this week.

"All key activity growth indicators improved in June," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note. "The set of June and 2Q17 macro data suggest economic momentum is holding up better than we originally expected, implying light upside risks to our real GDP growth forecast of 6.6% this year."

Nikkei's Hong Kong index fell 0.1% on Friday, trimming its advance this week to 0.7%. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing slipped 1% on Friday, but closed 4.5% higher this week after reports that its unit London Metal Exchange will cut fees to augment volumes. Cathay Pacific Airways fell 1.6% on Friday, ending with losses of 3.3% for the week after passenger traffic dropped in June from a year ago and the airline called its performance in the first-half disappointing.

The South Korea country index of Nikkei was little changed on Friday. For the week, it was up 2.5%. Shinhan Financial Group rallied 3.3% on Friday after reporting a 30% jump in second-quarter net profit. For the week, it clocked an advance of 6.5%. LG Chem rose 0.9% on Friday, taking its advance over the last five days to 3.3% after a 57% increase in second-quarter net profit. Korea Aerospace Industries fell 1.2% on Friday, to extend losses for the week to 12.5%. Its chief executive resigned on Thursday amid allegations that the company manipulated costs for the development of military aircraft. Posco edged higher by 0.2% on Friday after reporting a 44% surge in net profit for the June quarter.

The county index of India fell 0.8% this week amid a slump in cigarette maker ITC, but eked out a 0.2% gain on Friday. ITC nursed losses of 14.4% this week following a series of brokerage downgrades after a tax increase on cigarettes. On Friday, the stock fell 0.5%. Wipro jumped 10.5% in the five-day period, with most of the advance coming on Friday as the stock rallied 6.6% after the software major approved a 110 billion-rupees ($1.7 billion) stock buyback and reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Nikkei's Singapore index rose 0.8% on Friday to take its advance since last Friday to 1.7%. DBS Group Holdings was the biggest contributor, up 1.8% over the last five sessions. The lender rose 0.1% on Friday. Singapore Press Holdings rose 1.7% on Friday, but was down 4.2% this week after a 45% decline in its third-quarter net profit. Hyflux slumped 8.1% on Friday after the water treatment company said it expects to report a net loss for the second quarter.

Taiwan index of Nikkei slipped 1.2% on Friday. For the week, it was down 0.6%.

In South East Asian country indices, the Philippines rose 1.1% on Friday and by 0.6% this week. Vietnam lost 0.4% on Friday, extending losses for the week to 2.2%. Malaysia was little changed on Friday, closing up 0.2% for the week. Thailand fell 0.4% on Friday to end the week little changed. Indonesia fell 1.8% on Friday and for the week.

--Nimesh Vora and V. Phani Kumar

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