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Hong Kong Stocks hit 18-month high
Feb 20,2017

The Hong Kong stock market advanced modestly on Monday, 20 February 2017, sending the benchmark indices to their highest level since August 215, as new rules giving Chinese insurers greater access to Hong Kong stocks and a crackdown on risky products at home pushing mainland funds into the former British colony. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 0.47% or 112.34 points higher to 24,146.08, the highest since August 2015 and the third straight close above 24,000. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-share index, was up 0.82% or 85.35 points to 10,445.48. Turnover decreased to HK$78.1 billion from HK$86.3 billion on Friday.

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China Stocks gains on pension fund reports
Feb 20,2017

Mainland China stock market settled higher on Monday, 20 February 2017, with gains led by wine makers and banks, after media reports said pension funds may begin flowing into the countrys stock markets as early as this week. Investor sentiment was also supported by new rules unveiled by regulators late on Friday to restrict excessive and frequent fundraising by some listed companies. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, advanced 1.46% to close at 3,471.39. The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.18% to close at 3,239.96. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, increased 0.9% to 1962.53. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, rose 0.64% to 1,894.96 points.

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Nikkei settles 0.1% up
Feb 20,2017

The Japan share market settled above the boundary level after recouping initial losses on Monday, 20 February 2017, as the yen lost some of its early strength and gains in select blue chip stocks including Bridgestone and SoftBank Group. The 225-issue Nikkei average gained 16.46 points, or 0.09%, to close at 19,251.08. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 2.47 points, or 0.16%, at 1,547.01.

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Australia Market fall 0.2%
Feb 20,2017

Australian equity market ended down on Monday, 20 February 2017, weighed down by selloff in energy and materials stocks. Meanwhile weak earnings from logistics company Brambles and engineering and services contractor WorleyParsons also sparked heavy selling. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 10.70 points, or 0.18%, of 5,795.10, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 10.50 points, or 0.18%, to 5,840.50.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks edge to new 19-month highs
Feb 16,2017

Asia Pacific share market edged to new 19-month highs on Thursday, 16 February 2017, with gains underpinned by an ongoing rally on Wall Street, even as rising expectations of a March rate increase by the Federal Reserve kept investors cautious. MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2% to its highest since July 2015.

Stocks tracked Wall Street as the US market indexes pushed further into record-high territory on Wednesday, helped by upbeat retail sales data for January and ongoing optimism that President Donald Trump will cut corporate taxes.

Yesterdays data lifted the odds for a Fed rate hike in March to 42% from 30% two days ago, helped by Fed chair Janet Yellens testimony that the central bank doesnt need to wait for Trump to outline plans on fiscal stimulus before resuming rate hikes. US year-on-year inflation reached 2.5% for January, the fastest pace since 2012.

In Commodities- In commodity markets, oil prices softened as record high U.S. crude and gasoline inventories fed concerns about a global glut. U.S. crude was down 0.1% at $53.07 a barrel and Brent was flat at $55.75 a barrel.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market ends near two-year high

Australian equity market ended near two-year high on tracking positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with financial and material stocks leading gains, while the telecommunications sector proved a laggard. ASX sectoral performance was mixed, with earnings worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 7.2 points, or 0.12%, of 5,816.3, the highest since early May 2015, while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 3.9 points, or 0.07%, to 5,863.

Financial stocks were biggest contributor to the ASX rally, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia leading the gains after logging a fresh record first-half profit and pointed to a broadly positive economic backdrop for the sector. National Australia Bank, Australia & New Zealand Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia each added 0.7% and Westpac Banking was 1.1% higher.

The healthcare care sector also managed a rise, helped by strong gain in blood products and vaccine maker CSL after it reported a 12% rise in its half-year profit.

The telecommunication sector was pressured by biggest drag on Telstra, which lost 6.6% after the telecommunications operator said first-half earnings fell 14% as it was dented by regulatory price cuts and it trimmed income guidance for the full-year after disappointing mobile phone sales in the first six months.

Nikkei falls 0.47% on strong yen

The Japan share market settled down, as risk sentiment weighed down by yen ascent to 114 level against the dollar and skeptical about a possible March interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve, overshadowing another record close on Wall Street. The 225-issue Nikkei average shed 90.45 points, or 0.47%, to close at 19,347.53. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished down 2.62 points, or 0.17%, at 1,551.07.

Shares of Japanese exporters finished the session down due to yens advance against the U.S. dollar. The yens advance hurts exporters profits earned overseas when repatriated and dents the price competitiveness abroad of their products made in Japan. Toyota Motor ended down 0.5% to 6,457 yen, Nissan Motor fell 0.3% to 1,123.50 yen, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was down 2.4% at 444.90 yen. Semiconductor production-equipment maker Tokyo Electron fell 2.2% to 11,300 yen and optics-product maker Olympus lost 2.0% to Y3,940 yen.

The financial sector bucked the downward trend, tracking overseas counterparts on a rise in U.S. Treasury yields after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that she sees a solid U.S. recovery in her second day of testimony before Congress. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 0.3% to 770.70 yen, while nonlife insurer Sompo Holdings finished up 1.7% at 4,308 yen.

Insurers rose as the prospect of a higher-yield environment increased after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled more rate increases this year on Tuesday. Tokio Marine Holdings gained 2.2% to 5,129 yen and Dai-ichi Life Holdings rose 0.7% to 2,241 yen.

Toshiba continued stumbling, dropping 3.3% to 202.70 yen. The company has decided not to sell any stake in its chip business before the current business year ends next month, in a move that makes it certain the company will have a negative net worth at the end of the period,

Coal-Metal stocks lead China market gains

Mainland China stock market settled higher, with gains led by coal miners and metal firms, as the publication of regional governments investment targets lifted commodities markets. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, advanced 0.56% to close at 3,440.93. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.52% to close at 3,229.62. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, increased 0.57% to 1958.11. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, drorose 0.28% to 1,897.63 points.

An index tracking Chinas major non-ferrous metals added as much as 2.8% to hit a fresh two-month high, while an index tracking coal miners gained 2.2%. Chinas high-profile One Belt, One Road initiative to link markets from Asia to Europe and its accelerated infrastructure investment at home have boosted demand for building-related resources and raw materials, including steel, cement and base metals. Shares in China Molybdenum soared by their 10% trading limit to a more than seven-month high. The stock has gained some 20% in the last month alone, and more than 30% over the past year on stronger demand for high-strength steel alloys.

From the economic news section- China should prudently manage its process of deleveraging to avoid a liquidity crisis, a debt-deflation trap and asset bubbles, the Research Bureau of the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) said in a working paper Wednesday. China should take steps to prevent debt-deflation risks caused by excessively squeezed credit and investments, and should also curb liquidity risks and asset bubbles stemming from rapidly rising leverage ratios, noted the paper, which was published on the PBOCs website. The paper also said that markets should play the main role in deciding who to leverage and who to deleverage.

Hong Kong Stocks up on solid U.S. lead

The Hong Kong stock market climbed to best close in 18 months, thanks to an ongoing rally on Wall Street and bolstered by gains in Chinese stocks. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 0.47% or 112.83 points higher to 24,107.70, the highest since August 2015 and the first close above 24,000 since September last year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-share index, edged up 0.18% or 18.98 points to 10,455.02. Turnover decreased to HK$107.6 billion from HK$111 billion on Wednesday.

Stocks tracked Wall Street as the US market indexes pushed further into record-high territory on Wednesday, helped by upbeat retail sales data for January and ongoing optimism that President Donald Trump will cut corporate taxes.

Chinese banks extended their gains after data published this week showed new loans on the mainland rose to their second-highest level in history last month. China Construction Bank (CCB) rallied 2.87% to HK$6.45 following a 5% jump on Wednesday. The Bank of Communications climbed 1.62% to HK$6.28 while the Bank of China (BOC) was up 1.51% to HK$4.03.

Property counters bucked the uptrend as US Fed Chair Janet Yellen made it clear that she would speed up the rate hike pace. CK Property (01113) slipped 1.5% to HK$52. SHKP (00016) fell 0.7% to HK$108.3. Sino Land (00083) inched down 0.6% to HK$12.64.

Lenovo tumbled 6.69% to HK$4.88 after it posted a 67% drop in third-quarter net profit.

Healthcare, realty stocks push Sensex up

Indian stock market closed higher, due to heavy buying in healthcare, realty, IT and metal stocks amid firm global cues. The benchmark BSE index closed 145.71 points or 0.52% up at 28,301.27. The broader NSE index rose 53.3 points or 0.61% to 8,778.

IT stocks led the gains after Tata Consultancy Services said its board would consider a share buyback plan at a meeting next week. Shares of TCS, the countrys biggest software services exporter, gained 1.3% to their highest since September 7, 2016, heading for their 10th session of gains in 12 this month.

State Bank of India climbed 0.7% after the federal cabinet had on Wednesday approved its planned merger with five subsidiary banks.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries rose 4.3%. Media reports that the drug maker has received approval from the U.K. regulator for generic drug Tobramycin helped the gains, dealers said.

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Australia Market ends near two-year high
Feb 16,2017

Australian equity market ended near two-year high on Thursday, 16 February 2017, on tracking positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with financial and material stocks leading gains, while the telecommunications sector proved a laggard. ASX sectoral performance was mixed, with earnings worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 7.2 points, or 0.12%, of 5,816.3, the highest since early May 2015, while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 3.9 points, or 0.07%, to 5,863.

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Nikkei falls 0.47% on strong yen
Feb 16,2017

The Japan share market settled down on Thursday, 16 February 2017, as risk sentiment weighed down by yen ascent to 114 level against the dollar and skeptical about a possible March interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve, overshadowing another record close on Wall Street. The 225-issue Nikkei average shed 90.45 points, or 0.47%, to close at 19,347.53. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished down 2.62 points, or 0.17%, at 1,551.07.

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Coal-Metal stocks lead China market gains
Feb 16,2017

Mainland China stock market settled higher on Thursday, 16 February 2017, with gains led by coal miners and metal firms, as the publication of regional governments investment targets lifted commodities markets. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, advanced 0.56% to close at 3,440.93. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.52% to close at 3,229.62. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, increased 0.57% to 1958.11. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, rose 0.28% to 1,897.63 points.

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Hong Kong Stocks up on solid U.S. lead
Feb 16,2017

The Hong Kong stock market climbed to best close in 18 months on Thursday, 16 February 2017, thanks to an ongoing rally on Wall Street and bolstered by gains in Chinese stocks. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 0.47% or 112.83 points higher to 24,107.70, the highest since August 2015 and the first close above 24,000 since September last year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-share index, edged up 0.18% or 18.98 points to 10,455.02. Turnover decreased to HK$107.6 billion from HK$111 billion on Wednesday.

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Hong Kong Stocks take breather
Feb 14,2017

The Hong Kong stock market settled marginally lower after fluctuating between a tight range on Tuesday, 14 February 2017, as investors took a breather after a four-day rally lifted the benchmark index to a four-month closing high on the previous day. The Hang Seng Index was down 0.03% or 7.97 points to close at 23,703.01. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index, or the H-share index, shed 0.03% or 3.40 points to 10,254.44. Turnover decreased to HK$85.5 billion from HK$90.8 billion on Monday.

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China Equities close flat
Feb 14,2017

Mainland China stock market settled near flat line on Tuesday, 14 February 2017, as stronger-than-expected inflation data reinforced speculation of a shift by Beijing to a more tighter policy stance. Most sectors edged lower, while gains were led by material shares. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, edged down 0.01% to close at 3,435.80. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.03% to close at 3,217.93. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, shed 0.02% to 1964.32. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, dropped 0.22% to 1,909.40 points.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks down ahead of Yellen testimony
Feb 14,2017

Asia Pacific share market closed mostly lower on Tuesday, 14 February 2017, as investors turned cautious ahead of US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellens congressional testimony that could give clues on the pace of interest rate hikes.

Strong corporate earnings and expectations for business-friendly policies from Washington have propelled markets higher. But that momentum wavered as worries over possible moves on trade and currency by President Donald Trumps administration resurfaced.

Investors also were also cautious ahead of Fed Chair Yellens semiannual testimony before the members of Congress. Yellen on Tuesday will present the US central banks semi-annual report on monetary policy and economy in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, followed by the semi-annual monetary testimony before the House Financial Committee on Wednesday. Investors were watching how forceful the Federal Reserve chief would be in keeping alive the prospect of a interest rate hike in March when she testifies to Congress later on Tuesday. A trend of rising rates would weigh on the rate-sensitive property shares but benefit the financial sector.

Among Asian bourses

Nikkei falls 1.1% on strong yen; Toshiba tumbles

The Japan share market settled down, as risk sentiment weighed down by yen ascent against the dollar and worries over corporate earnings results after Toshiba announcing it had requested a delay in filing its earnings report. At the close, the Nikkei Stock Average declined 220.17 points, or 1.13%, to 19,238.98. The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 15.08 points, or 0.97%, at 1539.12. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1782 to 1245 and 309 ended unchanged. The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 4.10% to 17.77 a new 1-month low.

Toshiba shares fell 8% to Y229.8 after the Japanese tech giant postponed the announcement of its financial results for the April-December period, which was due today. Toshiba not reporting the results would expose the company to a greater risk of possible delisting. In December, the Japanese company had warned of a possible multi-million dollar devaluation of its assets linked to the purchase of American construction company CB&I Stone & Webster by Westinghouse Electric, the Japanese groups nuclear power unit in the US, the previous year. Although the company said the exact size of the write-down will depend on the accounting review, which will be completed in the first quarter of 2017 (April-June), local media has pegged the losses at over 700 billion yen ($6.12 billion). The incident has led to the resignation of Toshiba Chairman Shigenori Shiga, according to media reports. The tech giant had announced that it will review operations in the nuclear sector and split its flash memory business to raise third-party funding in order to offset its losses.

Nikon Corp. fell 15% to Y1,608 after the camera maker projected a deeper loss for the fiscal year ending in March. Its net-loss forecast increased 50% to Y9 billion ($79 million) amid slower demand for digital-camera-related products and bigger restructuring costs.

Minebea Mitsumi Inc. jumped 17% to Y1,414 after the bearings maker raised its profit views and announced a share buyback program.

Australian Market snaps five day winning streak

Australian equity market ended lower, snapping five day winning streak, as investors elected to book recent profit. ASX sectoral performance was mixed, with earnings worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks. At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.1%, or 5.50 points, at 5,755.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 2 points, or 0.03%, to close at 5810.90.

The healthcare care sector was pressured by a sharp 3.6% fall in Cochlear as its record half year profit was eclipsed by concerns over sales in China. The firm said the number of implants for young children it sold under Beijings national tender scheme fell 35.3% compared to the previous year and cut its full-year outlook for those units.

The consumer non-cyclical sector was pressured by 4.7% plunge in Treasury Wine Estates, as wine company offered a muted outlook after a strong half year result.

Materials stocks closed mixed after trimming initial gains inspired by rally in iron ore and base material prices. Chinas iron ore futures rose on Tuesday to their highest in more than three years, while copper held on to solid overnight gains amid supply concerns and ahead of testimony from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day. Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals rose 2.6%, hitting its highest in more than six years. Rio Tinto tacked on 0.3%, its highest close in nearly 3 years. BHP Billiton, however, ended the day 0.9% lower.

China Equities close flat

Mainland China stock market settled near flat line, as stronger-than-expected inflation data reinforced speculation of a shift by Beijing to a more tighter policy stance. Most sectors edged lower, while gains were led by material shares. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, edged down 0.01% to close at 3,435.80. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.03% to close at 3,217.93. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, shed 0.02% to 1964.32. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, dropped 0.22% to 1,909.40 points.

Chinas consumer inflation rate in January grew the most since May 2014 compared with the previous year, and its producer price index rose the fastest since August 2011, both beating market expectations and adding to signs of economic recovery. Market expert expects higher inflationary impulse would reinforce a recent shift by authorities to tighter policy stance, which is unfavourable for equities. Any signs that demand-led inflation might peak also presents hurdles to riskier assets because of the negative implications for wider growth.

Major insurance stocks slid, with China Life shedding 1%, as insurance sectors premium income growth is expected to slow in 2017 on tighter regulations.

Steel makers advanced, with Xinyu Iron & Steel up 5.2% to 4.46 yuan, and Maanshan Iron & Steel gaining 4.5% to 3.49 yuan.

Shares of Leshi Internet rose 3.7%, as Jia Yueting, founder and controlling shareholder of the company proposed awarding 20 new shares for every 10 shares held by all investors.

Hong Kong Stocks take breather

The Hong Kong stock market settled marginally lower after fluctuating between a tight range, as investors took a breather after a four-day rally lifted the benchmark index to a four-month closing high on the previous day. The Hang Seng Index was down 0.03% or 7.97 points to close at 23,703.01. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index, or the H-share index, shed 0.03% or 3.40 points to 10,254.44. Turnover decreased to HK$85.5 billion from HK$90.8 billion on Monday.

Shares of casino companies advanced after Citi Research maintained its GGR forecast for January at 10% growth to MOP21.5 billion. Also, several investment banks, including JP Morgan and UBS, forecast Macaus gaming revenues will continue to increase in February. Galaxy Entertainment (00027) jumped 7% to HK$37.85. Sands China (01928) shot up 5% to HK$33.1. Melco International (00200) andMGM China (02282) also soared 5% and 6% to HK$12.32 and HK$14.92.

Shares of Apples supplier juped after Apples shares hit new closing high overnight on Goldman Sachss upgrade, based on strong iPhone sales forecast in 2017. Handset components manufacturers AAC Tech (02018) and Sunny Optical (02382) gained 1% and 4% to HK$86.2 and HK$50.9. Cowell (01415) surged 17% to HK$2.7.

Geely Auto (00175) continued its rally on the news of blue-chip index inclusion. It added 2% to HK$10.98 as BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to buy.

Hong Kongs main free-to-air terrestrial television broadcaster TVB leapt 9.2% to HK$33.15. The company announced on Monday evening that it had raised the offer price to HK$35.075 per share in its share buyback plan, compared with the previous offer of HK$30.5 on January 24.

Indian market snaps three-day gains

Indian benchmark indices settled with small declines on sell-off in auto and pharma stocks amid muted global cues. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, fell 12.31 points or 0.04% to settle at 28,339.31. The Nifty 50 index shed 12.75 points or 0.14% to settle at 8,792.30.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries shares slipped 0.06% after consolidated net profit fell 4.72% to Rs 1471.82 crore on 10.13% rise in total income to Rs 8034.81 crore in Q3 December 2016 over Q3 December 2015.

Shares of Yes Bank rose 0.33%. The bank ramped up its existing portfolio of debit cards with the launch of new debit card variants. The bank has also strengthened its focus on Rupay cards and has introduced two cards on the platform offering superior features and benefits.

Shares of Hindalco Industries rose 1.3% after the company yesterday reported a standalone net profit at Rs 320.56 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2016.

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Australia Market snaps five day winning streak
Feb 14,2017

Australian equity market ended lower on Tuesday, 14 February 2017, snapping five day winning streak, as investors elected to book recent profit. ASX sectoral performance was mixed, with earnings worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks. At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.1%, or 5.50 points, at 5,755.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 2 points, or 0.03%, to close at 5810.90.

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Nikkei falls 1.1% on strong yen; Toshiba tumbles
Feb 14,2017

The Japan share market settled down on Thursday, 09 February 2017, as risk sentiment weighed down by yen ascent against the dollar and worries over corporate earnings results after Toshiba announcing it had requested a delay in filing its earnings report. At the close, the Nikkei Stock Average declined 220.17 points, or 1.13%, to 19,238.98. The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 15.08 points, or 0.97%, at 1539.12. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1782 to 1245 and 309 ended unchanged. The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 4.10% to 17.77 a new 1-month low.

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Asia Pacific Market: Asia stocks mostly higher
Feb 09,2017

Asia Pacific share market mostly up on Thursday, 09 February 2017, as investors took inspiration from corporate earnings and put aside for now the political risks that have dominated markets this week. MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.25% to their highest since July 2015, with Hong Kong, Taiwan and China among the regions best-performing markets.

Investors had in recent weeks been pondering the potential impact of the protectionist policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, an unpredictable European electoral future and a potential winding-down of central bank stimulus that has lifted risky assets across the globe.

Overseas, most European stocks edged higher after the UK House of Commons yesterday, 8 February 2017, approved legislation that would allow Prime Minister Theresa May to begin negotiations regarding the countrys exit from the European Union. The lower house of Parliament backed the bill in a 494-122 vote, as per reports. The bill now moves to the House of Lords. May wants to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by 31 March 2017, a move that would formally kick off exit talks. UK citizens narrowly voted last June to leave the EU.

Major U.S. indexes closed mixed on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.18% at 20,054.34, the S&P 500 gained 0.07%, at 2,294.67 and the Nasdaq composite ended 0.15% higher at 5,682.45.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was stronger at 100.31, up from levels below 100 earlier this week.

Oil prices settled higher on the back of an unexpected draw in U.S. gasoline inventories. Brent crude traded up 0.56% to $55.43 during Asian hours, while U.S. crude gained 0.52% to $52.61.

Meanwhile, Japans core machinery orders rebounded more than expected in December from the prior months fall. The Cabinet Office data showed core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, grew 6.7% in December, the fastest month-on-month gain in six months.

Among Asian bourses

Japan Stocks fall on strong yen; eyes on US-Japan talks

The Japan share market settled down, as risk sentiment weighed down by yen ascent against the dollar and uncertainty over the outcome of a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump in Washington on Friday. The Nikkei Stock Average declined 99.93 points, or 0.53%, to 18907.67. The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 10.60 points, or 0.7%, at 1513.55.

Many investors were opting for a wait-and-see stance to see the outcome of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump in Washington on Friday. Market participants held back from buying on fears that Trump may criticize Japan over automobile exports to the United States and the yen-dollar exchange rates.

Shares of exporters related companies suffered selling pressure after the dollar temporarily fell below 112 yen level on concerns about the unstable political situation in France and uncertainties over economic policies of U.S. President Donald Trumps administration. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Fuji Heavy Industries and Suzuki were among export-oriented companies battered by the stronger yen. Hitachi met with selling after announcing on Wednesday that Mitsubishi Heavy is demanding 763.4 billion yen in compensation for losses on a thermal power plant project in South Africa, double the previous amount. Other major losers included struggling electronics-maker Toshiba, textile producer Toray and chemical-maker Kaneka.

By contrast, SoftBank attracted purchases after the mobile phone carrier reported on Wednesday a double-digit increase in operating profit in April-December thanks partly to an improvement in profitability at U.S. subsidiary Sprint. JR Kyushu rose to the highest level since its listing last October as the railway operator on Wednesday revised up its consolidated operating profit forecast for the current year through March.

Australia Stocks edge up

Australian equity market ended edge higher, as investors digest mixed earnings reports from the likes of miner Rio Tinto, investment manager AMP and AGL Energy. At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 13.20 points, or 0.23%, to 5664.60, while the broader All Ordinaries index grew 14.30 points, or 0.25%, to close at 5717.70.

Rio Tinto shares closed 0.7% down at A$65.25 after the miner has reported a slightly better than expected full-year net profit of US$4.6bn. As demand increased for goods, the lift in iron ore prices and cost improvements helped support returns. The companies also continued its assets sales, and over the year generated US$1.3Billion taking the total of asset sales since 2013 to US$7.7 billion. RIOs debt fell to US$ 9,587Billion and gearing ratios were reduced. RIOs Iron ore division posted a 17% lift in earnings to US$4.6 billion and total sales increased by 4.7%. Iron ore now accounts for approximately 90% of RIOs profit. Rio Tinto said it will continue to lift CAPEX over 2017 to US$5 billion after spending US$3 billion this year.

Wealth manager AMP shares ended 4% up at A$5.23 after it said it wanted to strike a second reinsurance deal for its life insurance unit to reduce its financial exposure to the troubled business. Wealth manager AMP (AMP) has reported a full year loss attributable to shareholders of A$344 million, compared to a profit of A$972 million in the previous corresponding period (PCP). In underlying terms, a measure which removes the impact of one off items, profit fell from A$1,120million to $486 million, a decline of 56%. One of the features of the result was the announcement that A$500 million will be returned to shareholders through an on-market share buy-back which will commence in the first quarter of 2017.

AGL Energy shares advanced 4.4% to A$24 after the energy provider posted profit of A$325 million, a turnaround from loss of A$449 million corresponding previous year, thanks to improved financial positioning and cost reduction program being in full swing. The Company clocked 7.7% jump in revenue to A$6030 million. AGLs ability to obtain beneficial deals in the wholesale electricity market and therefore higher margins offset the fall in wholesale gas margins. Average consumer accounts also fell by 1% over the last year. The companys ongoing rollout of its new Strategic framework is now showing returns, with AGL hitting key milestones in its A$300 million transformation program which is said to be completed by the end of the 2019 financial year. AGL confirmed it is on track for its A$170 million operation expense reduction for FY17 after listing real savings of 38 million over the half. Energy Markets earnings (EBIT) lifted by 2% to A$1,214 million even with lower sales volumes driven by mild winter weather. Gas margins were lower but this was well flagged by AGL due to higher commodity costs and squeezed margins due to tougher competition in the Queensland wholesale market. AGL said it expects its underlying profit after tax for the full 2017 financial year within the upper half of its guidance range of A$720 to A$800 million.

China Equities hit 2-month high

Mainland China stock market settled two-month high, led by the real estate sector and glass and cement makers. The gain propelled by reports land sales revenue totaled CNY172 billion last month for the top 20 cities in China, up 31.1% year on year, and after the government signalled it would reduce overcapacity in the construction materials sector. The blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, was up 0.38% to close at 3,396.29. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.51% to close at 3,183.18. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, added 0.66% to 1954.62. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, rose 0.55% to 1,914.08 points.

State media reported on Wednesday that Xu Lejiang, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said China would step up supply-side reforms in the construction materials sector. Industry bellwether Anhui Conch Cement Co advanced 5.2%. Shares of glass producers Zhuzhou Kibing Group Co and CSG Holding Co gained nearly 2%.

Shares of environmental protection firms rose after Chinas securities regulator said it would encourage IPOs from more environmentally friendly companies.

The Chinese currency renminbi, or yuan, appreciated against the U.S. dollar after the Peoples Bank of China set a strong fixing rate. The PBOC set the yuan central parity at 6.8710 this morning, 0.2% stronger than 6.8849 on Wednesday. The yuan was last at 6.8697 against the U.S. unit, 0.12% stronger than the official closing price Wednesday of 6.8780.

Hong Kong Stocks gain to four month high

The Hong Kong stock market settled stronger, buoyed by gains in materials shares, and as expectations of further yuan depreciation continued to drive mainland China investors into the citys stocks. The Hang Seng Index was up 0.17% or 40.01 points to close at 23,525.14. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index, or the H-share index, jumped 1.2% or 119.83 points to 10,075.17, the highest since November 2015. Turnover increased to HK$95.9 billion from HK$89.2 billion on Wednesday.

Investors are pouncing on beaten-down stocks in Hong Kong as Chinas economy shows signs of accelerating and uncertainty about U.S. President Donald Trumps policy priorities spurs some to question the outlook for the U.S. equity market. Mainland investors purchased 932 million yuan ($136 million) of Hong Kong stocks through the link between the city and Shanghai on Thursday. Hong Kong investors bought 1.8 billion yuan of Chinas A shares through the link.

Chinese property developers ranked among the days top gainers in Hong Kong for a second straight day on optimism that low valuations and strong sales will help the industry withstand any fallout from restrictions imposed by authorities late last year. China Resources Land and China Overseas Land & Investment added 5% and 2% to HK$21.75 and HK$24.5 as Daiwa Research also named the stocks as its top picks in the sector.

Cheung Kong Property Holdings edged up 0.2%. The company is offering a 100% subsidy on stamp duty at a new luxury residential project in Hong Kong to lure buyers, South China Morning Post reported.

China pushed forward strongly its excess capacity eliminating plans on building materials. Cement makers became chasing targets of investors. Anhui Conch (00914) jumped 4% to HK$26.95. CNBM (03323) gained 1% to hK$5.28 after an 11% surge yesterday.

Chinese financial plays became focus of the market today on research house Bernsteins bullish comments. CCB (00939) gained 1% to HK$5.92, with HK$3.02 billion worth of shares changing hands. BOC (03988) and ICBC (01398) also put on 2% and 1% to HK$3.72 and HK$4.87. Ping An Insurance Group rose 1.1% and China Life Insurance added 0.6% on expectations a recent increase in mainland bond yields will boost their investment returns.

Sensex closes up ahead of key macro data release

Indian stock market settled the day marginally higher after a volatile session of trade as firmness in global stocks supported gains. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 39.78 points or 0.14% to settle at 28,329.70. The Nifty 50 index rose 9.35 points or 0.11% to settle at 8,778.40.

Banking stocks fell after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its policy rates on hold and said it would shift its stance from accommodative to neutral, signalling an end to any further rate cuts. Among PSU banks, Punjab National Bank (down 3.37%), Corporation Bank (down 3.3%), United Bank of India (down 3.14%), Punjab & Sind Bank (down 2.97%), Bank of Maharashtra (down 2.18%), Syndicate Bank (down 1.74%), Bank of Baroda (down 1.39%), Vijaya Bank (down 1.1%), UCO Bank (down 1.08%), Allahabad Bank (down 0.94%), Central Bank of India (down 0.88%), State Bank of India (down 0.52%), Canara Bank (down 0.23%) and Dena Bank (down 0.13%), edged lower. Andhra Bank (up 1.23%), Indian Bank (up 1.62%) and Bank of India (up 3.09%), edged higher.

Union Bank of India lost 7.86% to Rs 153.65 after the banks ratio of net non-performing assets to net advances rose to 6.95% as on 30 December 2016 from 6.39% as on 30 September 2016 and 4.07% as on 30 December 2015. Union Bank of Indias ratio of gross non-performing assets (NPA) to gross advances rose to 11.7% as on 30 December 2016 from 10.73% as on 30 September 2016 and 7.05% as on 30 December 2015. The result was announced after market hours yesterday, 8 February 2017.

Union Bank of Indias net profit rose 32.42% to Rs 104 crore on 8.95% rise in total income to Rs 9589.45 crore in Q3 December 2016 over Q3 December 2015. The result was announced after market hours yesterday, 8 February 2017.

Among private sector banks, City Union Bank (down 4.2%), IndusInd Bank (down 1.19%), HDFC Bank (down 0.56%), ICICI Bank (down 0.4%), Yes Bank (down 0.27%) and RBL Bank (down 0.17%), edged lower. Kotak Mahindra Bank (up 0.35%) and Federal Bank (up 0.66%), edged higher.

Axis Bank dropped 0.52% to Rs 484.95. The bank clarified during market hours today, 9 February 2017, that news item about a possible merger between Kotak Mahindra Bank and Axis Bank is baseless speculation.

Cipla dropped 2.65% to Rs 587. The companys consolidated net profit rose 44% to Rs 374.83 crore on 18.08% rise in total income to Rs 3800.70 crore in Q3 December 2016 over Q3 December 2015. The result was announced after market hours yesterday, 8 February 2017.

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