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Stocks

Hong Kong shares extend gains as caution over US politics eases

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares headed for a third day higher as investor concern about U.S. political uncertainty showed further signs of easing after Wall Street equities extended gains.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.3% to 25,461.43 by midday. Tencent Holdings climbed 1.2% toward another record high amid optimism over the internet major's growing subscriber base for its WeChat service. Local developers remained under pressure following the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's move to tighten mortgage financing in the city on Friday. Standard Chartered Bank will like increase its mortgage interest rate in response to the curbs on residential mortgages, The Standard reported, citing sources. Among local developers, Sino Land and Hang Lung Properties shed at least 1.4%.

U.S. stock indexes ended higher for a third day on Monday, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index recouping most losses suffered Wednesday on reports President Donald Trump interfered with a federal investigation. Most other regional markets also advanced, with the Nikkei Asia300 Index rising 0.6%, despite news of an explosion in U.K.'s Manchester that killed at least 19 people. Among safe havens, the Japanese yen and gold rose slightly.

"Global markets are showing a lot of resilience" amid turmoil in U.S. politics and "seem to be taking the uneasiness in their stride," said Louis Tse, asset management director at Hong Kong based VC Brokerage.

Ping An Insurance Group rose 1.8% to near a two-year high, building on Monday's more than 4% jump after the China Insurance Regulatory Commission reportedly said it will simplify procedures for insurers to fund infrastructure projects complying with President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road initiative.

"The increase in the scope of investment will help the incremental returns of insurance companies," Tse said.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1% and its Shenzhen counterpart fell 0.9%. The yuan traded onshore edged 0.1% lower against the greenback to 6.889.

Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group rose 4% in Shanghai after receiving approval from mainland authorities to form a joint venture for electric vehicles with German carmaker Volkswagen.

Value Partners Group fell 3.4%, following Monday's near 9% rally, after Bloomberg cited people familiar with the matter as saying China's HNA Group was in talks to buy a stake in the asset management company. Value Partners late Monday said its Chairman and Director Cheah Cheng Hye and non-executive honorary Chairman Yeh V-Nee have "been approached by third parties and are in discussions with a potential offeror." Shares of HNA Holding Group rose 1.8%.

Shares of Cogobuy Group remain halted after plunging 22% Monday. The e-commerce company said it is seeking professional advice in relation to a report containing allegations against the company. Short-seller Blazing Research on Monday published a report accusing the company of fraud.

Tingyi Holding slid 3.4%. The instant-noodle maker late Monday reported a 15% increase in net profit for the first quarter, but said the group's gross profit margins will remain under pressure due to rising raw-material prices.

China Vanke advanced 1.3%. The property developer said it will set up two funds involving a total capital contribution of about 12.9 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) with China Merchants Bank. China Merchants Bank jumped 5.9%.

Alibaba Group Holding rose 1.2% in U.S. trading on Monday. The e-commerce major's logistics arm will deploy one million smart delivery vehicles to cope with rising delivering volumes, South China Morning Post reported.

-- Nimesh Vora and V.Phani Kumar

--Nikkei Markets is a real-time financial news service for South East Asia's markets published by Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd, a Nikkei and NewsRise joint venture company. Nikkei Markets provides wide companies coverage in the region, including the Nikkei's Asia300 companies.

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