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Asia300

Singapore, Malaysia stocks gain as French poll outcome continues to cheer Asia markets

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares rose for a fourth straight day on Tuesday as optimism about French election results continued to buoy investors in the region. Malaysia stocks also gained.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 1.3%, adding to Monday's advance, as investors welcomed the victory of pro-European Union candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of French election. Overnight, France's benchmark index chalked its best session in at least four years and Germany's DAX Index climbed to a record amid bets that Macron will be the next President of France. U.S. stocks gained more than 1% overnight.

The euro was up 0.2% on Tuesday, following a 1.3% rally against the dollar the previous day, its best session in more than a year. A snap Ipsos survey late on Sunday suggested that Macron was well ahead of his rival, Marine Le Pen, in the final round to be held on May 7.

"European bourses had been the true beneficiaries of this elimination of risk with the market's favorite Macron looking set to rise through in the second round," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG. "This had been perceived as a restoration of stability for the euro."

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index rose 0.6% to 3,163.93. Tuesday's gains were broad based, with 27 shares in the 30-stock gauge ending higher. Golden Agri-Resources rose 5.8% and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings added 3.7%, among the top performers.

Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust rose 0.8% ahead of its earnings due later in the day. CapitaLand, which reports earnings on Wednesday, added 1.4%.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust slipped 3.7% after reporting a 70% decline in first-quarter profit attributable to unit holders. The management said it remains cautious on cargo volumes for 2017.

Sapphire Corp. added 3.1% after receiving infrastructure construction and consultancy contracts worth S$88 million ($63.3 million) through its unit Ranken Infrastructure.

Security product and service provider Secura Group slipped 3.5% after it projected a net loss in the first quarter ended March 31. Serrano, a provider of interior fit-out solutions, dipped 8.9% after saying that it expects the net loss in fiscal 2016 to deepen

Citic Envirotech rose 0.6% after winning a 230 million-yuan ($33.5 million) worth Build-Operate-Transfer water recycling contract in Changyi City, Shandong Province, China.

AEM Holdings, provider of equipment systems solutions and manufacturing services, soared 41% after reporting a 17 times jump in first-quarter net income.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.6% to 1,765.8 to near two-year highs with financials among the biggest contributors. Following the challenging conditions in the previous two years on account of the fall in crude oil prices and political upheaval, some analysts expect a better year for lenders as asset quality stabilizes and economic growth picks up.

AMMB Holdings rose 5.4%, and CIMB Group Holdings added 2.5%. Hong Leong Financial Group advanced 1.3%.

Malayan Banking, however, fell 0.3%, after CIMB Investment Bank downgraded it to "hold" from "add", following the stock's 14.6% year-to-date rally, which it says largely prices in expectation of 8% recovery in 2017 fiscal year profit.

Genting Malaysia edged lower by 0.2% after climbing 7% in the previous session to life-time highs.

British American Tobacco Malaysia fell 1.7%, extending Friday's decline after reporting a 34% decline in first-quarter profit. Malaysian markets were shut on Monday for a local holiday.

--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim

--Nikkei Markets is a real-time financial news service for South East Asia's markets published by Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd, a Nikkei and NewsRise joint venture company. Nikkei Markets provides wide companies coverage in the region, including the Nikkei's Asia300 companies.

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