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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities advance, boosted by technology firms

Samsung, Tencent, Taiwan Semiconductor rise tracking Nasdaq's gains

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced Friday, led by Chinese companies and heavyweight technology firms.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 1.02% to 1,394.43. Samsung Electronics gained 1.99%, Tencent Holdings added 1.91%, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing climbed 1.5% after the Nasdaq Composite yesterday climbed above 9,000 for the first time. The three shares are among the most heavily weighted on the A300 gauge.

Apart from technology shares, Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong were the other top performers on the A300. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, resuming trade after a two-day Christmas break, added 1.44%. The rally in Chinese companies boosted the Hang Seng Index by 1.30%.

It was the first time that Hong Kong investors had a chance to react to positive trade comments by U.S. President Donald Trump. The president earlier this week had said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would have a signing ceremony for the interim trade deal. The meeting of the two leaders raised hopes that there could more progress beyond the phase-one deal.

In other major movers on the A300, PetroChina, up 0.9%, led energy names higher, boosted by Brent crude climbing above $68 a barrel for the first time in more than three months.

China Construction Bank added 0.3%, pacing advance among lenders.

China Southern Airlines advanced 1.01%. The company withdrew itself from the SkyTeam Alliance, with effect from Dec. 31. It will officially launch its "CZ Priority" service brand to substitute the use of "SkyPriority" on its flights, effective Jan. 1.

Singapore Technologies Engineering added 0.5%. The company closed operation of its Brazil-based subsidiary as part of efforts to streamline the group's corporate structure.

Outside of the A300 gauge, shares of Malaysian steel companies rallied amid upbeat sentiment after the nation imposed anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled coil imports from a few countries to protect domestic players. Mycron Steel jumped 18.5%, Eonmetall Group surged 10%, and Ann Joo Resources climbed 6.1%.

-- Nimesh Vora

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