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Equities

Nikkei Asia300 posts solid weekly gain, paced by Samsung, ZTE

HONG KONG (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside Japan posted a solid weekly advance after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to a gradual increase in interest rates, spurring investor risk appetite.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of some of the region's most influential companies added 0.8% to 1,167.60 on Friday, pushing its weekly gain to more than 4%. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbed more than 5% as it advanced every day of this week, setting a string of record closes. ZTE jumped more than 14% in Hong Kong, its best week since July 2015, as it named a new chairman after reaching a settlement with U.S. authorities in relation to charges that the telecom-equipment maker had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Samsung added 1.3% and ZTE fell 1% in Friday's trading.

While the Federal Reserve this week raised its borrowing costs by 0.25 percentage points, as expected, investors focusing on its future tightening path appeared relieved that the central bank's outlook may not spark outflows from the region. Developments in Europe, where the ruling party defeated populists with an anti-immigration agenda, also helped to support sentiment.

The Nikkei Asia300 Korea Index added 1.5% on Friday amid reports of continued flow of foreign inflows into the nation's equities. Cosmetics majors edged higher, with Amorepacific Group adding 3.4% and LG Household & Health Care increasing 2%. The gauge for Taiwan also advanced 1.5%, with Eclat Textile jumping 5.1% and Catcher Technology rising 4.3%.

The Nikkei country indexes for Hong Kong and China gained less than 0.3%. Cathay Pacific Airways rose for the first time in three days following reports the airline plans to cut employee costs by 30% at its Hong Kong headquarters as it charts a recovery following a swing to losses last year. Great Wall Motor tumbled 8.9% on speculation a sales promotion by the company on its sports utility vehicles could trigger competitive price cuts in the segment and hurt industry profits.

China Vanke added 1.3% after the developer said China Evergrande Group and affiliates have agreed to delegate rights to their more than 14% stake in Vanke to Shenzhen Metro Group for one year. The agreement helps more than double Shenzhen Metro's shareholder rights in Vanke to about 29.4%.

The Nikkei Asia300 Philippines Index jumped 1.6% and the Singapore gauge advanced 1.2%. Country indexes for India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand added between 0.5% and 0.8%. The advances in Indonesia came after the central bank there left interest rates unchanged after the close of Thursday's trading.

-- V. Phani Kumar

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