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Nikkei Markets

Asia stocks climb as US-China tariff delay boosts mood

Tencent climbs in Hong Kong ahead of earnings

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced on Wednesday as Washington's decision to delay tariffs on some Chinese imports revived hopes of a Sino-American trade deal.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of regional companies outside Japan rose 0.9% to 1,216.40.

Asian equities tracked overnight gains on Wall Street after the U.S. Trade Representative office said the imposition of duties on some categories of consumer products will be postponed to Dec. 15 from Sept. 1. According to calculations by Goldman Sachs, the announcement meant tariffs on more than half of the $300 billion of Chinese imports targeted by President Donald Trump will be delayed by two-and-a-half months.

Trump earlier this month unexpectedly announced plans to impose 10% import tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods, effective September. In a trade war that has gone on for more than a year, the U.S. has so far imposed 25% tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing has retaliated with levies of its own.

DBS Research said that the U.S. tariff delay decision was "timely" and a "welcome sign of a temporary de-escalation in the China-U.S. trade war." Nomura noted that the announcement "mitigates to some degree Trump's recent decision to go forward with additional tariffs on imports from China."

In more positive news on prospects of an easing in U.S.-China trade tensions, media reports said trade officials from both countries spoke on the phone Tuesday, and more talks were planned in two weeks.

Risk appetite across Asia was, however, marred to an extent on Wednesday following disappointing China data. Data showed China's industrial output increased by 4.8% in July from a year ago and retail sales increased 7.6%, down from 6.3% and 9.8%, respectively, in June. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected industrial output to rise by 5.8% and retail sales by 8.6%.

In Hong Kong, heavyweight Tencent Holdings rose 1.8% ahead of its second-quarter earnings announcement, while Air China was up 3.6%, leading gains among airlines. The Chinese yuan's 0.4% advance against the dollar on the back of the tariff delay boosted shares of Chinese airlines.

Dongfeng Motor Group climbed 0.5% after the Chinese carmaker reported that July sales volume increases 18.8% from a year earlier.

WH Group slipped 5.4% after the Chinese meat and food processing company's January-to-June net profit declined 17%.

Hon Hai Precision Industry edged 0.4% lower after the Taiwanese iPhone assembler reported a 2.5% decline in net income for the April-June period that topped estimates.

Central Pattana jumped 5% in Bangkok after Thailand's largest retail property development company's revenues in the June quarter reportedly increased 2%. Net profit attributable to shareholders in the period was down 16%.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing advanced 0.5% after the bourse operator reported a 3% year-on-year increase in first-half net profit on the back of higher investment income.

Wilmar International dropped 4.7% after the Singapore-listed agribusiness company said that June quarter net profit declined 46%.

ComfortDelGro declined 4.2%. The Singapore transport operator reported a 1.2% rise in net profit in the April-June period.

Public Bank ended 0.3% higher. The Malaysian lender on Wednesday reported a 5% decline in June quarter net profit and a 1.6% decrease in net interest income.

Coal India closed 1.6% lower despite the Indian miner reporting a 22% increase in net profit for fiscal first quarter.

--Nimesh Vora

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