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Equities

Nikkei Asia 300 Index gains as trade war fears ebb

Samsung Electronics, Samsung Heavy jump

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan recouped losses on Thursday amid hopes that a trade war between the U.S. and China will likely be averted.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 0.6% to 1,409.71, recovering from the previous session's 1.4% decline. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumped 3.9% ahead of the release of its March quarter earnings guidance on Friday. Samsung Heavy Industries advanced 4.2% after receiving an order worth 389 billion won ($366 million) for building two LNG carriers in the Oceania region.

The rebound came after all the three major U.S. indexes managed to claw back early losses overnight. The indexes, which posted significant losses at opening after China's tit-for-tat tariffs on U.S, climbed higher through the session to end 1% higher. The turnaround came after a top White House economic advisor sought to play down a full-blown trade war between both the nations. Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that the tariffs announced were currently just proposals and "nothing concrete had actually happened."

Investors are basically hoping that the current trade posturing will "turn into little more than a war of words," said Stephen Innes, head trading of Asia Pacific at Oanda. Investors are probably "encouraged that neither country has established a tariff implementation itinerary, so hope remains alive with both parties still at the bargaining table," he said.

Equity markets around the world have witnessed considerable volatility in recent weeks amid fears that protectionist measures proposed by Beijing and Washington could hurt the global economic outlook.

There were noticeable moves across the equity space in Asia on Thursday. Japan's benchmark index climbed 1.7%, South Korea's by 1.3%, and Singapore's by 2%. The safe-haven yen declined versus the dollar, as did Gold.

Indian banking shares rose after the nation's Monetary Policy Committee cut its inflation forecast for the current fiscal year that began on April 1. The panel left the key interest rate unchanged while maintaining the policy stance at 'neutral', as expected. State Bank of India rose 4.7% and ICICI Bank closed 3.5% higher.

The Philippines' Alliance Global Group advanced 2.2% after the food company reported that last year's net income was little changed from 2016. Bloomberry Resorts dropped 4.8% after the casino reported an 87% decline in net profit for the December quarter.

In country indexes complied by Nikkei, South Korea and India advanced 1.4% each. Markets in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were closed on Thursday.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies ended 1% higher.

--Nimesh Vora

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