SINGAPORE (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks rose Tuesday, even as investors prepared for a near-certain rate increase by the Federal Reserve later this month.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.3% or 3.9 points to 1,127.41. Technology heavyweights Samsung Electronics, Tencent Holdings and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing contributed heavily to gains on the 316-stock gauge, while India's Infosys and China Shenhua Energy slipped.
Tuesday's gains come even as the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise rates at its meeting on March 14-15 and possibly signal a faster pace of increases going forward. Markets will look at February's nonfarm payrolls report this Friday for further cues.
Stocks on Wall Street fell Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump, without offering evidence, alleged that predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped his phone calls, raising concerns about his ability to focus on economic policies. Global markets risen significantly in the six weeks since Trump has assumed office, with U.S. indexes soaring to record highs repeatedly, as investors await detail on his proposed tax reforms and spending plans.
Trump decision to sign a revised executive order to ban citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from travelling to the U.S. also rattled sentiment.
The Nikkei Asia300 China Index rose 0.7% to 1,077.53 points, while Hong Kong's gauge added 0.3% to 1,077.54. Chinese property developers advanced significantly after they reported robust February sales numbers. China Vanke, whose February sales more than doubled from a year ago, jumped 4.4%, while China Overseas Land & Investment added 1.9% after reporting a 50% jump in February sales late Monday.
China Unicom Hong Kong and China Mobile rose 0.6% and 0.4%. Late Monday, the mobile operators announced plans to stop charging domestic long distance and roaming fees following Premier Li Keqiang's statement of a government order on Sunday at the National People's Congress.
South Korea's gauge rose 0.2% to 1,205.07 points, while Taiwan's index advanced 0.8% to 1,231.90.
Data released Tuesday showed Taiwan's exports rose a better-than-expected 27.7% in February. According to ING, consensus forecasts for export growth were at 16.3%.
Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, rose 1.1% and 0.6%.
The Nikkei Asia300 Singapore Index added half a percent to 1,078.20, while neighboring Malaysia's gauge rose 0.3% to 1,009.21. In the rest of Southeast Asia, Philippines' index slid 0.7%, weighed down by a near 4% slide in conglomerate LT Group, Indonesia's gauge added 0.2% and indexes in Vietnam and Thailand ended little changed.
India's index ended 0.1% lower as investors turned cautious ahead of key state election results. Technology bellwether Infosys slumped 1.4%, contributing heavily to losses on the 44-stock sub-index.
--Kevin Lim and Nimesh Vora