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Nikkei Asia300 Index advances as South Korean chipmakers gain

SK Hynix, Samsung advance in Seoul

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Thursday, helped by gains in South Korean chip makers, even as the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy review spurred bets of a rate increase in December.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 0.2% to 1,326.29. SK Hynix, the world's second-biggest memory chip maker, rose 3% in Seoul after Japan's Toshiba said late Wednesday that it will sell its chip unit to a consortium that includes Bain Capital and SK Hynix. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbed 1.1% to a record. The stock has risen almost 14% this month amid optimism over its memory and mobile phone business.

U.S. markets ended little changed overnight after the Fed policy decision. The central bank left rates unchanged as expected, but signaled that it remained on course to hike one more time later this year. Also as anticipated by markets, the Fed announced that it will start the process of unwinding its balance sheet next month. U.S. bond yields rose overnight and the dollar rallied against most currencies.

Earlier on Thursday, Bank of Japan made no changes to its monetary stance, keeping the policy rate in negative territory. The yen was down to its lowest level against the dollar in almost two months.

AIA Group advanced 0.3% after the insurer said it will acquire Commonwealth Bank of Australia's life insurance business in Australia and its life and health insurance businesses in New Zealand for $3 billion. It said the transaction is expected to be accretive to AIA's earnings in the first year following the deal's completion.

Property developer New World Development dropped 3.5% in Hong Kong after reporting an 11.4% decline in net profit for the year ended June 30.

Also in Hong Kong, securities broker China International Capital Corp. jumped 18% to HK$18.32 after Tencent Holdings bought a 4.95% stake, subscribing to 207.5 million shares at HK$13.80 apiece. Tencent rose 0.2%.

The H-shares of electric carmaker BYD added 4%. The Chinese automaker expects all vehicles in the country to be completely electric by 2030, Reuters cited the company president as saying in Shenzhen on Thursday. Shares of BYD have jumped almost 50% this month amid speculation that China is developing a timetable to end production of traditional fuel cars.

Shares of Taiwan's HTC were suspended from trading on Thursday, pending an announcement. After markets closed, the smartphone maker said it is selling a part of its phone division to Google for $1.1 billion. The search giant will acquire HTC's division that develops Google's Pixel smartphones.

In country indices compiled by Nikkei, China advanced 0.2% and South Korea climbed 0.6%. The gauge for Hong Kong slipped 0.4% while that of Taiwan added 0.8%. India edged lower by 0.1%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies gained 0.2%.

--Nimesh Vora

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