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Nikkei Markets

Asian shares rebound even as Wuhan coronavirus fears linger

South Korean carmakers climb after monthly sales numbers

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rose Tuesday, recouping some losses sparked by concerns over the fast-spreading and deadly Wuhan coronavirus. Still, investor focus remained firmly on efforts to contain the contagion.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan advanced 2.2% to 1,337.53, after having fallen 6.5% in the previous six sessions. Chinese companies were among the biggest contributors to the rebound. Tencent Holdings added 3.4%, China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance Group rose at least 1.6% each, and China Construction Bank, up 1.2%, lead lenders higher. An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong climbed 1.6%.

The rebound in Asian equities came despite Hong Kong reporting a death from the virus, joining the Philippines that over the weekend had done the same. Meanwhile, Beijing said the virus had claimed more than 425 lives as of Monday, and more than 20,000 people were infected.

Risk appetite in Asia on Tuesday was helped by positive Wall Street cues and expectations of policy support from Chinese central bank after it injected liquidity yesterday and today.

Equities in the U.S. advanced yesterday and index futures indicated that they could build on it. Manufacturing activity in the world's largest economy unexpectedly expanded last month, data released Monday showed.

Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia, said that while regional appetite was helped by the "broadly constructive" U.S. leads, "a cautious tone" will likely prevail in the near term considering that "the coronavirus impact is still being estimated at this point of time and the magnitude of the spread is uncertain."

In other movers on the A300, heavyweights Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics rose at least 3% each.

Kia Motors added 0.4% after reportedly saying late Monday that South Korean and overseas sales volume rose 3% year-on-year last month. Hyundai Motor advanced 0.4% despite the South Korean carmaker reported a 4% fall in sales volume.

Bajaj Auto declined 3.9%. The Indian two-wheeler maker reported a 3% year-on-year decline in January sales volume.

Jollibee Foods lost 0.5%. The Philippine company said Tuesday that it temporarily closing all its stores in China, Reuters reported.

-- Nimesh Vora

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