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Equities

Nikkei Asia300 Index falls as Samsung, SK Hynix extend losses

Rising global bond yields also damp investor appetite

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan fell Wednesday, as South Korean chipmakers extended losses. Rising global bond yields also damped investor appetite.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index dropped 0.5% to 1,461.70. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost 3.1%, adding to Tuesday's more than 3% decline. The stock fell after the company's December quarter operating profit estimates lagged behind analysts' forecast. Rival SK Hynix declined 5.2%, also extending the previous day's losses.

On Wednesday, investors focused on rising bond yields in Europe, the U.S. and Japan. The borrowing costs hardened as Bank of Japan trimmed its purchase of long-dated securities in market operations. The move raised speculation that BOJ may later in the year join the U.S. Federal Reserve in winding down its asset buying program. The U.S. 10-year yield rose to its highest since March, and the 10-year Euro bond yields are hovering near their peak since late-October.

Energy-related stocks rallied Wednesday after the U.S. benchmark crude prices jumped to their highest in three-years. Hong Kong-listed shares of CNOOC, China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec), and PetroChina added 1.7%, 1.3%, and 0.7% respectively. South Korea's SK Innovation jumped 3.6%.

Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor tumbled 6.1% after its sales in December dropped 17% from the year-earlier period. The carmaker said it aims to sell 1.16 million units this year, about 8% more than its 2017 sales.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group climbed 1.4% after reporting a 12% growth in retail sales value in mainland China for the third quarter.

Taiwan's United Microelectronics dropped 3.7% after December sales fell 15%. Compal Electronics declined 0.7% after sales growth slowed to 4.3% in December from about 33% in the prior month. Asustek Computer added 0.6%, and Innolux Corp. rose 0.4% despite year-on-year declines in last month's sales.

Lenovo Group fell 1.5%. The personal-computer maker said it expects a one-off charge of $400 million on its deferred tax assets, which will be included in its earnings for the nine months ended Dec. 31. The charge is due to the `re-measurement' of its U.S. deferred tax assets following rule changes in that country, the company said in a statement.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, South Korea lost 1.5%, Taiwan dropped 1.2%, and India fell 0.5%. China and Hong Kong were little changed.

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

--Nimesh Vora

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