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Nikkei Asia300 Index gains as Chinese banks, semiconductor makers advance

Agricultural Bank of Chine pace gains among lenders

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose Tuesday, as Agricultural Bank of China led mainland lenders higher following plans of a private placement and upbeat earnings.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index rose 0.6% to 1,485.36. Hong Kong-shares of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) jumped 5.4% after saying it planned to raise up to 100 billion yuan ($15.8 billion) from a private placement of Shanghai-listed A-shares. For 2017, the lender reported a 4.9% increase in profitability and its non-performing loan ratio declined to 1.81% from 2.37% in 2016. Shanghai shares of ABC closed 2.5% higher.

The robust earnings of ABC boosted other Chinese lenders. Hong Kong-shares of Bank of China (BOC) advanced 1.8%. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank (CCB) added 1.1% each.

The jump in South Korean and Taiwanese semiconductor companies too contributed to Tuesday's advance on the A300. Samsung Electronics climbed 3.9%, SK Hynix rallied 6%, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. rose 2%. The S&P Semiconductors Select Industry Index climbed more than 1% on Monday, compared with the 0.1% decline on the S&P 500 Index.

Meanwhile, U.S consumer price data, due later Tuesday, will be watched closely amid concerns that faster inflation could lead to quicker pace of rate increases by the Federal Reserve. An upbeat economic outlook and Fed remarks that inflation could accelerate have raised the possibility that the monetary authority could revise its earlier projections of three interest rate hikes this year. January's higher-than-expected reading on U.S. CPI had unsettled markets last month.

In Mumbai, Tata Consultancy Services tumbled 5.2% to 2,892.45 rupees after parent Tata Sons sold a portion of its shareholding in India's biggest software exporter, according to reports. Reuters publication IFR reported that Tata Sons sold 31.3 million shares of TCS, representing 1.63% of the equity capital, at 2,872 rupees per share.

In economic data, India's consumer prices rose less than expected in February while January industrial output surpassed projections.

In country indexes complied by Nikkei, South Korea rose 1.9%, Taiwan added 1.2%, and China advanced 0.3%. Hong Kong edged lower by 0.2%, while India added 0.1%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies gained 0.1%.

--Nimesh Vora

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