Asian Stocks Extend Gains But Hang Seng Turns Negative

Date | 27-02-2018 - 03:49 PM Article Type | Stock Markets Region | Asia

Hong Kong Skyline - Asian equities were mixed in afternoon trade on Tuesday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s highly anticipated testimony later in the day.

Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.04% higher and hit a three-week high. The gains followed Wall Street, where the Dow finished 1.6% higher; the S&P 500 added 1.2% and the Nasdaq gained 1.3%.

Mainland Chinese markets were under pressure and traded deeper in the red, as Shanghai Composite traded 1.16% lower by 1:30am ET while Shenzhen Componentalso slipped 0.6%. The decision by China’s Communist Party to remove presidential term limits remained in focus. The official and Caixin purchasing manager’s indexes due Wednesday and Thursday are expected to gather some attention.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index opened higher but turned negative in afternoon trade as Mainland Chinese companies listed in the city eroded its early gains. AIA Group Ltd (HK:1299) made headlines as the insurance group’s 2017 net profit jumped 48% to $6.12 billion, beating analysts’ estimates. Meanwhile, Electricity supplier CLP Holdings (HK:0002) reported a better-than-expected 8% growth in net profit and announced a dividend of HK1.14 per share.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier stocks outperformed today as the technology conglomerate was reportedly planning to release three new smartphones later this year. Hong Kong-listed AAC Technologies Holdings Inc (HK:2018) surged as much as 4.1% in the morning, while Japan-listed Alps Electric Co., Ltd. (T:6770) and Alpine Electronics Inc (T:6816) gained 6% and 1.7% respectively.

In Korea, Bank of Korea was the focus as it kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged at 1.5% in Governor Lee Ju-yeol’s last policy meeting. The central bank raised its 2018 growth forecast to 3% last month and trimmed inflation forecast to 1.7%.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.2% as gains in the healthcare, metals and financial sector led shares higher.

Author: Heng V. Mony
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