ASIA MARKETS: Nikkei Asia300 Index Gains As Trump Nominates Powell As Fed Chief
By Nimesh Vora
MUMBAI (Nov 03) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan edged higher on Friday after U.S. lawmakers unveiled details of the proposed changes in tax laws and as President Donald Trump nominated Jerome Powell to succeed Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 0.2% to 1,384.51. For the week, the gauge was up 1.8%.
U.S. Republicans released their long-awaited proposals to revamp the U.S. tax code. The lawmakers called for a drastic reduction in the corporate tax rate, rationalization of tax brackets for individuals, and cutting taxes on U.S. companies' foreign profits.
Trump's promise of tax reforms has been one of the drivers for the rally in global markets this year. The reaction to the proposals in U.S. markets was, however, relatively muted on Thursday with the S&P 500 Index ending little changed.
"While the tax overhaul momentum has picked pace lately, the tumultuous part is yet to start as debate over the proposed changes commences," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based broker IG.
Asian markets derived comfort from Trump's nomination of Powell as the next Fed Chair. Analysts have said Powell's appointment would mean the Fed was likely to stick to its current of measures interest rate increases.
In individual stock moves on Friday, Singapore-based conglomerate Sembcorp Industries declined 2.4% after reporting a 38% fall in third-quarter net profit, missing estimates.
Singapore's second-biggest mobile operator StarHub advanced 3% amid a better-than-expected performance in its Enterprise business. Net profit for the September quarter declined 11.5%, as its mobile and Pay TV business continue to remain under pressure.
United Overseas Bank, the city-state's third-biggest bank by assets, ended little changed after posting a 12% increase in third-quarter net profit, as higher loans and fee income offset a drop in earnings from trading.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding fell 0.7% in New York overnight, paring its year-to-date rally of more than 100%. The company said its quarterly net profit more than doubled on year, primarily driven by China e-commerce retail business.
In Mumbai, Vedanta declined 0.7% after rallying 2% earlier in the day. The miner reported a 47% jump in September quarter profit. Hindalco, one of the biggest producers of primary aluminum in Asia, slipped 0.6% following an 11% drop in second-quarter net profit.
India's Tata Power dropped 0.2% and Power Grid Corp. fell 2.1% after their second-quarter earnings lagged behind estimates. Hero MotoCorp slipped 1.2% after October vehicles sales declined 5%.
In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, China added 0.5%, Hong Kong advanced 0.3%, and South Korea rose 0.2%. Taiwan ended little changed and India's gauge gained 0.1%.
The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies ended little changed.
- By Nimesh Vora; firstname.lastname@example.org; 91-22-61353321
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