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Stocks

Nikkei Asia300 Index falls as North Korea tests another missile

Chinese cement makers advance on bets prices may rise

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan fell Wednesday as investors digested news of North Korea's latest missile test.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index declined less than 0.2% to 1,401.62

North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier Wednesday, which it said was capable of striking anywhere in the U.S. The latest missile launch came after the U.S. last week put Pyongyang on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea has accelerated its weapons development program this year, despite additional sanctions from the United Nations, escalating a war of words with the U.S.

The cues out of Wall Street were positive for Asian markets as benchmark indexes reached record highs after the U.S. Senate Budget Committee voted to advance a tax bill. The passing of the bill by the Committee paves the way for a full floor vote on Senate. Expectations of a drastic cut in U.S. corporate taxes have bolstered global risk appetite in recent weeks and U.S. Republican lawmakers remain on course for passing the legislation before the year-end.

Anhui Conch Cement H-shares rallied 5% amid expectations that China's winter environment protection efforts will lead to increased profitability, as cement supply restrictions would lift prices. The H-shares of China Resources Cement advanced 2.8% and China National Building Material added 4.2%.

Hong Kong-listed social media conglomerate Tencent Holdings slipped 1.8%. Tencent, Sequoia Capital, and TPG are looking to buy Uber shares from employees and other stockholders when the tender offer launches, likely later Wednesday, according to a report by TechCrunch.

China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) H-Shares declined 0.5% as crude oil prices headed for a third day of decline. The company has decided to sell its oil assets in Argentina for $500 million to $600 million to Mexico's Vista Oil & Gas, Reuters reported, citing a source with knowledge of the deal.

CapitaLand edged down 0.3%. Late Tuesday, the Singaporean property developer said the company, along with CapitaLand Retail China Trust, will buy 100% interest in the owner of Rock Square shopping mall for 3.3 billion yuan ($500 million). Shares of CapitaLand Retail China fell 1.2%.

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories fell 0.6% in Mumbai. The drug maker said Wednesday it had been served with a U.S. Securities action class lawsuit for alleged violations of federal securities laws. The company said the claims were without merit and it intends to defend itself against the allegations.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, China slipped 0.9% and Hong Kong dropped 0.2%. South Korea added 0.2% and India gained 0.1%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies closed almost unchanged.

--Nimesh Vora

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