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Nikkei Markets

Asian equities advance tracking Wall Street gains

AIA, Tencent and Hong Kong property developers among winners on A300 index

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan advanced after U.S. equities climbed to one-month highs overnight, helping offset mounting U.S.-China tensions related to Hong Kong.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 0.4% to close at 1,283.53.

Investor sentiment in Asia was helped by the strong overnight close on Wall Street on the back of positive corporate earnings. Among the key heavyweights, pan-Asia insurer AIA Group advanced 1.8%, while Tencent Holdings ended 0.7% higher.

An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong climbed 0.3%. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said it will retaliate if the U.S. Congress enacts a legislation -- which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday -- that requires an annual review on whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from Beijing to justify its special trading status.

Following the passage by the House of Representatives, the bill will be taken up by the U.S. Senate.

Analysts are worried that the fallout regarding the bill could undermine trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader, said the bill, if enacted, "could potentially derail trade talks indefinitely."

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 0.6% higher. The city's legislature was adjourned amid disruption from pro-democracy lawmakers shortly after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attempted to deliver her annual policy address. Lam delivered the policy address via video link following the disruption, in which she announced measures to address Hong Kong's housing woes.

Hong Kong property developers ended higher. Sun Hung Kai Properties added 3%, New World Development jumped 4.1%, and Henderson Land Development advanced 2.8%.

In other movers on the A300 gauge, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group slid 3.8% after saying its same-store sales growth for the second-quarter ended Sept. 30 fell 42% in Hong Kong and Macao and declined 7% in China from a year earlier.

China Southern Airlines rose 1.2% following a 10.1% increase in passengers carried during September.

Singapore Airlines added 1.1% after the total number of passengers carried last month rose 8.6% on-year and passenger load factor increased 1.2% to 84.8%.

Wipro advanced 2.1% after the Indian software company's September net profit beat estimates.

Meanwhile, South Korea's equity benchmark index closed 0.7% higher. The country's central bank on Wednesday cut the key policy rate to a record low to boost the economy.

--Nimesh Vora

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