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Equities

Nikkei Asia300 Index extends gains as tech stocks advance

Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor rise tracking Nasdaq

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Wednesday, extending their strong start to the year, after a record close for the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 1% to 1,442.41, adding to Tuesday's similar gains. South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries jumped 8.8% after setting a sales target of 7.9 trillion won ($7.5 billion) for 2018. Other shipbuilders too edged higher. Samsung Heavy Industries added 1.6%, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering rallied 12%. Heavyweights Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing rose by 1.2% and 1.9%, mirroring the overnight rally in U.S. technology companies.

Technology shares led the overnight gains on Wall Street, lifting the Nasdaq Composite above the 7,000 level. The spotlight for U.S. markets this week will be on a slew of important economic data releases. On tap Wednesday is the U.S. ISM Manufacturing, followed by private payrolls on Thursday, and non-farm payrolls and ISM Non-Manufacturing on Friday.

In Asian economic data released on Wednesday, Nikkei Thailand Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.4 in December from 50 in the prior month. Consumer prices in the Southeast Asian nation rose 0.78% in December, slower-than-expected.

South Korea's Hyundai Motor rose 0.7%, recovering from Tuesday's losses. The carmaker said it sold 4.5 million vehicles globally in 2017, less that its target of 5.08 million. Its affiliate Kia Motors declined 0.6% after global sales of 2.75 million vehicles last year fell short of its target of 3.17 million.

LG Display added 3.2%. Financial Times reported, citing a report by Electronic Times, that the company will start supplying OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panels for Apple's new iPhone later this year.

In Mumbai, Hero MotoCorp rose 0.2%. Late Tuesday, the two-wheeler maker reported a 43% increase in December sales.

Petrochemical-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries advanced 0.5% after the company commissioned the world's largest refinery off-gas cracker in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, South Korea added 1.7%, Taiwan rose 1.5%, China climbed 0.5%, and Hong Kong advanced 0.2%. India rose 0.7%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies advanced 1.3%

--Nimesh Vora

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