HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose on Friday, ending the week higher, helped by extended gains for indexes on Wall Street and optimism over first-quarter earnings from regional companies.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.9% to 1,422.73, climbing 2.1% for the week. The three equity benchmarks in the U.S. rose 0.8% or more on Thursday, as a slower-than-expected uptick in retail inflation eased worried of a faster pace of rate increases in the world's largest economy. The Nasdaq Composite, the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are set for a weekly advance as they have ended higher for at least four out of the last five days.
Tencent Holdings, Asia's most valuable company, rose 0.6% on Friday. It ended the week 6.8% higher, recording its best weekly advance since February amid optimism ahead of its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Diversified conglomerate Swire Pacific advanced 3% on Friday in Hong Kong. Shares of its unit Swire Properties jumped 4.9% after the developer on Thursday said it is in discussions that may result in the sale of two office towers in the city.
Lotte Shopping rose 1.7% in Seoul after saying on Friday its unit sold a retail store operator to Shanghai-listed Liqun Commercial Group for 291 billion won ($272.5 million).
Asustek Computer ended unchanged at NT$279 in Taipei after the personal-computer maker reported a 35% decrease in first-quarter net profit.
Great Wall Motor climbed 1.5%, while Dongfeng Motor Group and electric carmaker BYD rose 3.6% each in Hong Kong on Friday. The gains came after data showed vehicles sales in China jumped 11.5% in April.
Singapore Post rose 2.3% on Friday after saying it swung to a net profit of S$23.9 million ($17.8 million) for the fourth quarter ended Mar. 31, helped by the absence of impairment charges. The postal and e-commerce logistics company reported a loss of S$65.2 million in the same quarter the previous year.
Transport company ComfortDelGro fell 0.4% in Singapore ahead of its results. At the end of the day's trading, the company said its net profit in the first quarter fell 19.6% from a year earlier, dragged down mainly due to non-recurrence of special dividends from Cabcharge Australia and higher operating costs.
Singapore retail sales eased on a year-on-year basis in March, primarily due to a fall in motor vehicle sales, data released by the department of statistics Friday showed. Retail sales shrank 1.5% on year in March. Excluding motor vehicles, sales rose 2.6% on year in March.
Markets in Malaysia were closed for a third day. Late Thursday, Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as the nation's Prime Minister after he led the opposition Coalition of Hope to a sweeping election victory to end the 61-year uninterrupted rule of National Front.
The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN index for Southeast Asian companies added 0.9% on Friday.
--V. Phani Kumar