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Stocks

Nikkei Asia300 Index posts weekly gains on US tax optimism

ICBC, CCB rise for second week, Tencent climbs more than 4%

NEW DELHI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Friday to end the week higher, as global markets cheered the passage of a U.S. tax reform bill by Congress.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.7% to 1,397.39 on Friday, climbing 1.4% for the week. Mainland heavyweight lenders Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank (CCB) added at least 2.2% each this week. Insurer AIA Group has advanced 3.2% since last Friday after U.S. borrowing costs rose to nine-month highs during the week. Ping An Insurance Group jumped 7.1% in Hong Kong.

The U.S. Congress this week approved a tax bill to cut corporate tax rates to 21% from 35%. The bill will now be signed into a law by U.S. President Donald Trump, marking his first major legislative win since assuming office in January.

Pork producer WH Group advanced 5.5% in Hong Kong this week amid bets its U.S. unit Smithfield Foods will benefit from lower corporate taxes.

Technology heavyweight Tencent Holdings has advanced 4.3% since last Friday for its best weekly performance in December so far.

Fosun International advanced 8.1% this week after the Chinese conglomerate said it plans to buy 243.1 million shares in Tsingtao Brewery for HK$6.62 billion from Japan's Asahi Group Holdings. Tsingtao Brewery shares ended the week 3% higher.

On Friday, Lotte Corp. added 1.5%. A Seoul court on Friday handed Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin a two-year suspension of a jail sentence related to corruption charges, according to Reuters.

Pegatron rose 0.7% in Taipei. The electronics products maker's unit bought land, buildings, and facilities for T$1.86 billion ($62.2 million) in Taichung city.

In Mumbai, software exporter Infosys rose 1.7% to a one-month high on Friday, clinching its third consecutive weekly advance. Tata Consultancy Services added 1.8%.

Malaysia's national electric utility firm Tenaga Nasional edged 0.1% higher in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. The company is in talks with the government to determine the future of its loss-making 82.75% owned-unit Sabah Electricity, and an agreement is expected by the new year, its chief executive said Friday.

Among country indexes compiled by Nikkei, Hong Kong's gauge added 0.6% on Friday, while China's index climbed 0.9%. South Korea's index rose 0.4% and Taiwan's gauge advanced 0.9%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies gained 0.5%. India's gauge added 0.6%.

--Suzannah Benjamin

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