June 15, 2017 8:42 pm JST

Nikkei Asia300 Index as Fed rate views, US political uncertainty weigh

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks fell on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and maintained outlook for another increase this year and as political turmoil in Washington kept investors cautious.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index shed 0.4% or 4.8 points to 1,238.93. Financial heavyweights in the region contributed heavily to the losses, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank (CCB) sliding more than 1.5% each.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday concluded its two-day policy review with a 25-basis-point rate increase and a reiteration of its plans to raise rates once more in 2017. The Fed also outlined plans to scale back its balance sheet. The move came despite a recent spate of mixed economic data, including disappointing U.S. inflation and retail sales numbers released on Wednesday.

"It seems the Fed is no longer as data dependent as before and wants to carry on with the normalization process despite weakness seen in some economic releases," Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM, wrote in a note. "It's either that the recent wobble in economic data is temporary, and the next two months should prove it, or the Fed wants to have enough tools in case the economy fell into a new recession."

Risk sentiment was also hurt after the Washington Post reported, citing officials, that special counsel Robert Mueller's widening probe into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections now includes an examination of whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Regional energy producers fell after Brent crude prices lost 3.5% on Wednesday. In Hong Kong, China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) fell 2%, while CNOOC and PetroChina shed at least 1%. Sapura Energy lost 5.2% in Kuala Lumpur.

The country gauge for China fell 1.3%. The International Monetary Fund raised China's growth forecast for 2017 to 6.7% from 6.6% estimated in April.

Hong Kong's index shed 0.7%. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Thursday lifted its base rate by 0.25 percentage points after the Fed's move as interest rates in Hong Kong move in tandem with the U.S. because of the city's currency peg to the dollar. New World Development and Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 1.7% or more to pace losses for the real estate sector.

The Nikkei Asia300 Malaysia Index slipped 0.1%.

Neighboring city-state Singapore's gauge lost 0.2%. Real estate companies City Developments and CapitaLand fell 0.7% and 1.4%, respectively. Singapore developers sold 1,024 new private homes in May, a decline of 34% from April when sales totaled 1,555 units, according to Thursday's data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Year-on-year, sales of new private homes were little changed.

Lenders United Overseas Bank, DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation slipped at least 0.9% each after the U.S. central bank's policy review.

South Korea and Taiwan's country gauges rose at least 0.2%, helped by gains in technology heavyweights. Samsung Electronics added 0.7% in Seoul, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co rose 0.5% in Taipei.

India's 44-stock index fell 0.1%. The nation's top refiner Indian Oil Corp. fell 3.2% in Mumbai.

--Nimesh Vora and V. Phani Kumar

Asia300

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

China

Market(Ticker): HKG(1398)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Major Banks
Market cap(USD): 292,335.45M
Shares: 356,406.25M
Asia300

China Construction Bank Corp.

China

Market(Ticker): HKG(939)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Major Banks
Market cap(USD): 213,146.46M
Shares: 250,010.98M
Asia300

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

China

Market(Ticker): HKG(386)
Sector:
Industry:
Energy Minerals
Integrated Oil
Market cap(USD): 104,465.81M
Shares: 121,071.20M
Asia300

CNOOC Ltd.

Hong Kong

Market(Ticker): HKG(883)
Sector:
Industry:
Energy Minerals
Oil & Gas Production
Market cap(USD): 51,808.17M
Shares: 44,647.45M
Asia300

PetroChina Co., Ltd.

China

Market(Ticker): HKG(857)
Sector:
Industry:
Energy Minerals
Integrated Oil
Market cap(USD): 207,556.39M
Shares: 183,020.97M
Asia300

Sapura Energy Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(5218)
Sector:
Industry:
Industrial Services
Oilfield Services/Equipment
Market cap(USD): 2,082.64M
Shares: 5,992.15M
Asia300

New World Development Co. Ltd.

Hong Kong

Market(Ticker): HKG(17)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 13,022.68M
Shares: 9,817.19M
Asia300

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.

Hong Kong

Market(Ticker): HKG(16)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 45,488.57M
Shares: 2,896.24M
Asia300

City Developments Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(C09)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 7,551.71M
Shares: 909.30M
Asia300

CapitaLand Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(C31)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 11,696.98M
Shares: 4,274.38M
Asia300

United Overseas Bank Ltd. (Singapore)

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(U11)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 28,720.95M
Shares: 1,669.41M
Asia300

DBS Group Holdings Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(D05)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 38,514.24M
Shares: 2,562.05M
Asia300

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(O39)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 33,906.20M
Shares: 4,193.78M
Asia300

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

South Korea

Market(Ticker): KRX(005930)
Sector:
Industry:
Electronic Technology
Telecommunications Equipment
Market cap(USD): 297,948.22M
Shares: 148.18M
Asia300

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Taiwan

Market(Ticker): TAI(2330)
Sector:
Industry:
Electronic Technology
Semiconductors
Market cap(USD): 183,460.62M
Shares: 25,930.38M
Asia300

Indian Oil Corp. Ltd.

India

Market(Ticker): BOM(530965)
Sector:
Industry:
Energy Minerals
Oil Refining/Marketing
Market cap(USD): 31,270.75M
Shares: 4,855.90M

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