MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose on Friday and for the week after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans for import tariffs on steel and aluminum that were less severe than initially feared.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 0.5% to 1,452.34, ending the week 1.4% higher. Hong Kong metro operator MTR climbed 4.2% after reporting a 64.1% jump in net profit and a 22.7% increase in revenue for year ended Dec. 31. Hong Kong-shares of China Resources Beer Holdings jumped 10% after Reuters reported, citing people close to the discussions, that it is in talks to acquire Heineken NV's China business. Hong Kong property developer Wheelock added 1.2% after saying a unit had agreed to buy a land parcel from Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management, a member of the HNA Group, in a HK$6.36 billion ($812 million) deal.
On Thursday, Donald Trump followed through with last week's proposal to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports despite opposition from several U.S. lawmakers. Trump, however, exempted Canada and Mexico from the levy and left the door open for other nations to be excluded from the import tax, saying "we are going to show great flexibility." The exemptions eased concerns over the possibility of global trade wars to some extent, driving gains for all three U.S. equity benchmarks overnight.
Risk appetite improved further after the White House on Thursday said Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May following assurances from Pyongyang that it will refrain from further nuclear or missile tests.
The Hong Kong-listed shares of real estate developer China Overseas Land & Investment added 2% after it reported a 9.9% increase in contracted sales for February. Great Wall Motor rose 0.6%, recouping intraday losses triggered by a 24.7% drop in February sales volume.
Hyundai Steel dropped 2.5% and Posco dropped 3.6% in Seoul. On the U.S. import tariffs, news agency AFP cited the South Korean trade minister Paik Un-gyu as saying "If this action takes effect, it would inevitably deal a serious blow to South Korea's steel exports to the US."
Singapore's City Developments rose 3.3% on Friday after entering into an initial pact with TID Residential for forming a joint venture to undertake a condominium housing development project of S$509.37 million ($386 million).
Investors await U.S. employment data for February later Friday, which could rekindle concern over a quicker pace of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. economy likely added 200,000 jobs in February, according to economists polled by Reuters. In addition to the headline number, focus will be on the wage growth print.
In country indexes complied by Nikkei, Hong Kong added 1.1% and China rose 0.9%, while South Korea and Taiwan rose by 0.5% each. India's gauge declined 0.4%.
The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies declined 0.1%.