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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks edge higher tracking Wall Street gains

Samsung Electronics extends advances

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rose Wednesday following overnight gains in U.S. equities and ahead of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's meeting.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan closed 0.2% higher at 1,260.87.

The S&P 500 Index ended a two-day losing run on Tuesday, helped by the U.S. Commerce Department decision to grant a three-month relief to U.S. companies that do business with Huawei Technologies. The relief boosted technology shares, which had come under pressure in earlier sessions after the U.S. added Huawei to a list of companies banned from buying components and technology from American companies without approval.

The ban on Huawei further strained the relationship between the U.S. and China. Earlier this month, trade worries were back in focus after U.S. President Donald Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and the Asian nation responded by announcing duties on American goods.

Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said while the Huawei delay itself "is more an administrative move allowing U.S. companies to get their houses in order," investors appear to have interpreted the measure as one that eases trade frictions. Trade concerns remain a major source of worry and investors continue to be wary of "headline bombs," he said.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that the Trump administration is considering constraining a Chinese video surveillance giant's ability to buy American technology, a move that could further antagonize Beijing.

Investors are awaiting the minutes of the Fed's May meeting for insights on the monetary authority's views on inflation and growth. At the May meeting, the Fed left rates unchanged and repeated that muted inflation allowed it flexibility in future rate adjustments.

In movers on the A300 index on Wednesday, heavyweight Samsung Electronics added 0.8%. The shares have jumped 5.6% in three sessions amid expectations that Huawei's troubles with the U.S. could benefit the South Korean chip and smartphone major.

Hong Kong-shares of China Southern Airlines fell 1.2% and Air China rose 0.4%. Reuters reported, citing Chinese state media, that both the airlines had asked Boeing for compensation over the grounding of the 737 Max aircraft.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction climbed 1.8%. The South Korean company said Wednesday that it received a letter of intent for a construction project in Iraq worth 2.9 trillion won ($2.43 billion).

Swire Properties, a unit of conglomerate Swire Pacific, advanced 3.3% in Hong Kong after saying it agreed to sell its 50% stake in Island Land Development, which owns a commercial building in Hong Kong's North Point district, for 2.38 billion Hong Kong dollars ($303 million).

--Nimesh Vora

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