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Hong Kong Stocks surrender gains on profit-taking
Mar 02,2017

The Hong Kong stock market closed down after wiping out initial gains on Thursday, 02 March 2017, as some investors took advantage of the upbeat market to lock in profits. The change of direction in the afternoon was partly triggered by bearish sentiment on the mainland, where investors were worried about liquidity amid growing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.2% or 48.4 points to 23,782.1 while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dropped 0.4% to 10,246.9. Market turnover on the Hong Kong main board was HK$82.1 billion, slightly higher than Wednesdays HK$76.2 billion.

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Dow breaks through the 21,000 mark
Mar 02,2017

U.S. stock-market indices closed at a new round of records on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 as investors welcomed President Donald Trumps conciliatory tone during his address to a joint session of Congress, despite a lack of details on his economic plans.Stocks even rose slightly higher following the release of the Feds Beige Book, which pointed out that business optimism has cooled a bit since the election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through the 21,000 barrier, surging 303.31 points, or 1.5%, to close at a record 21,115.55. The S&P 500 index rallied 32.32 points, or 1.4%, to close at a record 2,395.96 after reaching a new intraday high of 2,400.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 78.59 points, or 1.4% to close at a record 5,904.03.

Dows gains were led by J.P. Morgan Chase, American Express, Travelers, ExxonMobil and Boeing. Nine of the 11 main sectors finished higher. Financials led gains, followed by energy stocks.

The surge for stocks, on the heels of Trumps speech, also comes as the expectation for a rate increase by the Federal Reserve as early as mid-March have increased significantly.

The Dow industrials ran from clearing 20,000 for the first time to clearing 21,000 in 24 sessions.

On the data front, a report on personal income and outlays showed that the cost of goods and services outpaced household income, with the year-over-year inflation rising to the highest level since 2012. Higher pace of inflation is another reason the Fed might be eager to go ahead with rate normalization sooner rather than later.

The manufacturing index from the Institute for Supply Management rose to 57.7% in February, its best level in more than two years. Meanwhile, construction spending declined 1% in January.

Trump delivered his address to Congress after the markets close Tuesday. In what many saw as a rather reserved speech, the U.S. president said he would push for around $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, and promised n++massive tax reliefn++ for the middle class and tax cuts for corporations. Otherwise, the speech was lacking in firm details about his economic plans.

Among stocks under focus, Best Buy shares finished down 4.5% after the consumer electronics retailer reported fourth-quarter sales that missed expectations. McDonalds Corp.s shares gained 1.1% as the fast-food giant unveiled a global growth plan at a meeting for investors in Chicago on Wednesday. Lowes shares led S&P 500 gainers, closing up 9.5% after the home-improvement retailers quarterly results topped Wall Street estimates.

The Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the economy gathered before the central bank makes interest-rate decision, showed that the spike in business optimism following the presidential election has cooled a bit.

Gold for April delivery fell $3.90, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,250 an ounce. Prices had posted a gain of roughly 3.5% for the month of February. Silver for May delivery rose 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $18.489 an ounce.

Oil prices finished with a modest loss on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 as U.S. government data revealed an eighth weekly climb in a row for crude stockpiles that was actually smaller than the market expected. Traders also weighed pressure from concerns over higher oil production in the U.S. against support from expectations that the market is tightening as a result of production cuts in the Middle East and Russia.

April West Texas Intermediate crude fell 18 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $53.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but it also traded as high as $54.34 shortly after the supply data. May Brent crude on Londons ICE Futures exchange fell 15 cents, or 0.3%, to end at $56.36 a barrel.

Early Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 1.5 million barrels in domestic crude-oil supplies for the week ended 24 February 2017. Data from the government agency had already shown gains in each of the previous seven weeks and total crude inventories of 520.2 million barrels last week marks a new weekly record. Gasoline supplies declined by 500,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell 900,000 barrels last week. Market had called for a drawdown of 1.7 million barrels for gasoline and a fall of 700,000 barrels for distillates.

On Thursday, investors will receive February Challenger Job Cuts at 7:30 ET and the weekly Initial Claims report at 8:30 ET.

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Nikkei gains on strong Wall Street, weak yen
Mar 01,2017

The Japan share market ended at a two-month high on Thursday, 02 March 2017, as investors took heart from robust gains on Wall Street overnight and yen depreciation against the U.S. dollar. Every industry category on the main section gained ground, led by insurance, securities, and iron and steel issues. Tokyos benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.88%, or 171.26 points, to close at 19,564.80, its highest close since Jan. 5, while the Topix index of all first-section issues tacked on 0.75%, or 11.60 points, to end at 1,564.69.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks tepid ahead of Trump policy speech
Feb 28,2017

Headline equities of Asia Pacific market closed mixed in thin trading on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, as investors awaited a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump for details on tax reform and infrastructure spending later in the global day. Regional investors were also opted sideline ahead of key economic indicators (local and global) schedule to release tomorrow.

Investment sentiment was pressured as investors globally remained cautious ahead of President Trumps address to lawmakers. President Trump will deliver his fiscal budget to Congress on Tuesday evening in Washington. Market watchers will take a wait-and-see attitude for details on tax reform and infrastructure policy, areas where the Trump administration has promised sweeping changes. MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan erased earlier modest gains and edged down slightly.

Markets have largely priced in the new administrations policies, including corporate tax reform, infrastructure spending and deregulation, although expectations have moderated on the timing and extent of fiscal stimulus.

Markets have been longing for more detail on Trumps promised stimulus plans to judge if President Trumps really would lift inflation and economic growth, and thus add to the case for higher US interest rates. Such an outcome would tend to boost the US dollar across the board.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market ends down

Australian equity market finished session down, due to late hour sharp selloff amid worries ahead of Trumps State of the Union address tomorrow. Among key sectors, shares of bullion, metal & mining, resources, and consumer staples complainers witnessed heavy selloff, while energy and utilities stocks registered notable buying. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 12 points, or 0.21%, of 5,712.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 12.80 points, or 0.22%, to 5,761. For the month of February, the benchmark index gained 1.6%.

Gold stocks were the biggest drag on the materials sector, on caution ahead of President Donald Trumps speech to the U.S. Congress. Investors werent buying gold miners to hedge the risk. Perhaps it was expectations of some big tax cut or fiscal stimulus announcement that will push the odds of a US rate hike even higher. St Barbara shed 11.2% and Resolute Mining tanked 12.3%.

Shares of energy companies inclined, thanks to a big rally in WorleyParsons and gains in the oil price. Benchmark Brent crude was up 0.3% at $US56.11 today, underpinned by high compliance with OPECs production cuts even as the market remains anchored by rising US production. Engineering firm WorleyParsons rallied 32% on news that privately owned Dar Group had bought a 13% stake. Dar, which made a takeover offer in November that WorleyParsons rejected, said it was a strategic investment and that it currently has no plans to launch takeover talks. Oil-and-gas producer AWE climbed 2.1% after the release of first-half results

Electronics retailer Harvey Norman was up 0.6% after reporting a 39% surge in first-half profit on ongoing sales growth.

Cleaning and laundry-services company Spotless sank 14% after releasing an unexpectedly soft profit outlook.

Bellamys shares have come out of a trading halt, rising 4.2% to A$4.45 following the companys extraordinary shareholder meeting. Shareholders voted to remove existing directors Michael Wadley and Charles Sitch at the meeting.

Nikkei ekes out gain

The Japan share market ended in green terrain for the first time in last five market days, thanks to buybacks on a pause in the yens strengthening and a continued Wall Street rally overnight. The Nikkei 225 average closed 11.52 points, or 0.06%, higher at 19,118.99. The Topix, covering all first-section issues, rose 1.32 points, or 0.09%, to close at 1,535.32

Shares of Japanese electronics, industrial and brokerage stocks attracted buying as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan boosted Treasury yields and the dollar against the yen overnight. Electronics parts maker Sharp rose 1.8% to 333 yen, Sony shares rose 0.69% to 3,478 yen, construction machinery maker Komatsu gained 1.8% to 2,710.5 yen and Nomura Holdings added 1.2% to 729.3 yen. Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, was up 0.68% to close at 35,490 yen.

Defense-linked companies also rose on speculation of stronger demand following news that President Trump will call for a $20 billion boost in military spending when he addresses Congress. Industrial-machine maker IHI advanced 3.6% to 350 yen and Kawasaki Heavy Industries climbed 1.4% to 353 yen.

Takata fell 0.18% to 552 yen after the airbag maker pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to pay a billion-dollar fine to settle suits over the defective safety devices.

Toshiba dropped 3.52% to 208.2 yen after Japans Mainichi newspaper reported that the loss-hit conglomerate aims to raise up to 2.5 trillion yen ($22 billion) by selling all of its prized microchip business.Telecom NTT DoCoMo lost 0.76% to finish at 2,667 yen after reports said it will likely get $1.17 billion in compensation from Indias Tata group for liquidating their joint venture.

China Stocks close edge higher

Mainland China stock market closed edge higher in thin trading, as caution over market overheating after a steady run-up in recent months pushed the main index near its late-November peak. Sector performance was mixed, with property, energy, logistics, and delivery companies led the rally, offsetting a drop in steel and liquor stocks. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, was up 0.19% to close at 3,452.81. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4% to close at 3,241.73. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, added 0.63% to 2001.32. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, was edge up 0.02% to 1,927.16 points.

SF Express shares jumped 10% in Shenzhen, rising by its daily limit for a fourth straight day. The share ended at 66.8 yuan. The company completed its back-door listing on Friday after buying Shenzhen-listed Maanshan Dingtai Rare Earth & New Material Co.

Zhejiang People Culture, a takeover target of mainland actress Zhao Wei, slumped 10% in Shanghai to 15.2 yuan, as securities regulators announced plans late on Monday to investigate the company.

Jiangsu Ankura Smart Transmission Engineering Technology, a manufacturer of high-voltage connectors and components, jumped by its allowable 44% limit to 35.11 yuan, from an offering price of 24.38 yuan, in debut trade in Shenzhen.

Hong Kong Stocks fall

The Hong Kong stock market closed down for fourth straight session, as caution prevailed in the market ahead of U.S. President Donald Trumps speech before Congress late today. The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.8% or 184.3 points to 23740.73, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index eased 0.3% to 10,297.96. Turnover decreased slightly to HK$73.1 billion from HK$74.5 billion on Monday. For February, Hong Kong stocks gained 1.63%, adding to gains in January when the index rallied 6.18%.

Macau casinos shrugged off the weak sentiment, driven by improved earnings. Galaxy Entertainment added 0.3% to HK$37.2 after it posted a 51% rise in 2016 net profit. Sands China was the biggest gainer among the Hang Seng components, rising 1.1% to HK$32.4. SJM Holdings added 0.2% to close at HK$6.4.

Oil prices were little moved but oilfield service providers saw robust buying orders. Jutal Offshore Oil Services (03303) surged 15% to HK$1.73. It has risen for four consecutive days, with a combined gain of 28%.

CLP Holdings, the larger of Hong Kongs two electricity suppliers, gained 1% to HK$79 after it reported stable growth in operating profit on Monday. Nomura is bullish on CLP Holdings (00002) noting its stable earnings and dividend growth. Deutsche Bank also sees a better prospect for the companys Australian business.

China Yuhua Education, which provides private education in China, closed 2% higher in debut trade at HK$ 2.1, after surging as much as 10.7% from its IPO price of HK$2.05 in the morning trading session.

Sensex, Nifty settle at over one-week low

Indian benchmark indices dropped in a volatile session of trade as investors await an address that US President Donald Trump is scheduled to make to Congress in the global day today. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, fell 69.56 points or 0.24% to settle at 28,743.32. The Nifty 50 index fell 17.10 points or 0.19% to settle at 8,879.60. Both the Sensex and the Nifty settled at over one-week low. Private bank stocks saw mixed trend. PSU bank stocks rose. Most realty stocks rose. Shares of public sector oil marketing companies declined. Cement shares saw mixed trend.

State Bank of Travancore rose 0.64%. The bank announced the revision of Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) from 1 March 2017. The announcement was made before market hours today, 28 February 2017.

BPCL fell 5.42% on turning ex-dividend today, 28 February 2017 for an interim dividend of Rs 19.50 per share for the year ending 31 March 2017 (FY 2017).

Tata Steel rose 0.37% after the company said its first greenfield ferro-chrome plant at Gopalpur has started production. The announcement was made during market hours today, 28 February 2017.

Engineering and construction major L&T rose 0.14%. The company said that its wholly-owned subsidiary, L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE), signed an enterprise framework agreement (EFA) with Shell Global Solutions International B.V., for providing engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for Shell projects in the Middle East, South East AsIa and India.

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Hong Kong Stocks fall ahead of Trump policy address
Feb 28,2017

The Hong Kong stock market closed down for fourth straight session on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, as caution prevailed in the market ahead of U.S. President Donald Trumps speech before Congress late today. The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.8% or 184.3 points to 23740.73, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index eased 0.3% to 10,297.96. Turnover decreased slightly to HK$73.1 billion from HK$74.5 billion on Monday. For February, Hong Kong stocks gained 1.63%, adding to gains in January when the index rallied 6.18%.

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China Stocks close edge higher
Feb 28,2017

Mainland China stock market closed edge higher in thin trading on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, as caution over market overheating after a steady run-up in recent months pushed the main index near its late-November peak. Sector performance was mixed, with property, energy, logistics, and delivery companies led the rally, offsetting a drop in steel and liquor stocks. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index, which tracks large companies in Shanghai or Shenzhen, was up 0.19% to close at 3,452.81. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4% to close at 3,241.73. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on Chinas second exchange, added 0.63% to 2001.32. The ChiNext Index, which tracks Chinas NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, was edge up 0.02% to 1,927.16 points.

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Nikkei ekes out gain on yen pause
Feb 28,2017

The Japan share market ended in green terrain for the first time in last five market days on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, thanks to buybacks on a pause in the yens strengthening and a continued Wall Street rally overnight. The Nikkei 225 average closed 11.52 points, or 0.06%, higher at 19,118.99. The Topix, covering all first-section issues, rose 1.32 points, or 0.09%, to close at 1,535.32

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Bullion, mining stocks weigh down Australia market
Feb 28,2017

Australian equity market finished session down on Tuesday, 28 February 2017, due to late hour sharp selloff amid worries ahead of Trumps State of the Union address tomorrow. Among key sectors, shares of bullion, metal & mining, resources, and consumer staples complainers witnessed heavy selloff, while energy and utilities stocks registered notable buying. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 12 points, or 0.21%, of 5,712.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 12.80 points, or 0.22%, to 5,761. For the month of February, the benchmark index gained 1.6%.

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Small gains at Wall Street
Feb 27,2017

U.S. stocks staged a last-minute rally on Friday, 24 February 2017 with major indices turning positive ahead of the closing bell and the Dow extended its record-setting streak as investors shrugged off concerns the rally was overdone. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose for a fifth straight week, while the Dow brought its string of weekly gains to three.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.1 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 20,819.84. The S&P 500 rose 3.4 points, or 0.2%, to end at a record of 2,367.28. The Nasdaq Composite rose 9.8 points to end at 5,845.31, a rise 0.2%.

The days gains were broad, with nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ending higher. The only two that fell did so heavily, with financials and energy stocks. Among the top drags on the Dow, Goldman Sachs fell 1.5% while J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. fell 0.9%. The third- and fourth-largest decliners were Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

The stock market held a modest loss throughout the majority of Fridays session. Outside of an opening dip, todays session was rather range-bound as the market cut its initial loss in half and traded in sideways fashion until an afternoon charge into the green. Equity indices did show some life around noon following a report that Gary Cohn, who is the chief economic adviser to President Trump, indicated that the White House does not support the House GOP version of a border adjustment tax. This was construed as a positive for retailers given that they import so much of their merchandise for sale in the United States; hence, their earnings prospects would be likely to suffer.

In the latest economic data, consumer sentiment fell from a 13-year high in February, while new-home sales posted a strong rebound in January.

New Home Sales in January hit an annualized rate of 555,000, which was above the revised December rate of 535,000 (from 536,000), and less than the 566,000 that was expected by the consensus. The key takeaway from the report is that high prices continue to impede stronger sales activity at the lower end of the new home market. That point is borne out in the fact that homes priced $299,999 or less accounted for 44% of new homes sold in January 2017 versus 53% in January 2016.

The final reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for February rose to 96.3 (Briefing.com consensus 95.8) from 95.7 in the preliminary reading.

Among stocks under focus, shares of Hewlett Packard slumped 6.9% after the IT company late Thursday reported lower sales than expected and cut its earnings projections for the fiscal year. Nordstrom rallied 5.7% after the department store chain late Thursday reported earnings that beat forecasts. The retailer has been in focus following a recent decision by the company to drop Ivanka Trumps fashion label, citing poor sales.

The ICE Dollar index rose 0.1% on Friday.

Crude prices closed the week at $53.97/bbl.

U.S. Treasuries finished the week on a positive note, closing Friday near their three-month highs. The benchmark 10-yr yield finished six basis points lower at 2.31%.

On Monday, investors will receive January Durable Orders (consensus 1.8%) and January Pending Home Sales (consensus 0.9%). The two reports will cross the wires at 8:30 am ET and 10:00 am ET, respectively.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks drop on Trump policies, political uncertainty in Europe
Feb 24,2017

Asia Pacific share market mostly lower on Friday, 24 February 2017, as lack of clarity over U.S. economic policies under President Donald Trump and political uncertainty in Europe weighed on sentiment. MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.5%.

Investor risk sentiments were muted on following the lackluster cues from Wall Street overnight, after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed caution about the strength of the dollar and an uncertain outlook for U.S. economic stimulus. Mnuchin reportedly said in an interview that he expects U.S. interest rates to remain low for a long time, and expects significant tax reforms by President Donald Trump to be passed before Congress August recess, slower than market expectations. Mnuchins remarks came after Trump recently said he would introduce n++phenomenaln++ tax reforms in a few weeks.

As Trump has promised a phenomenal plan by early March to cut business taxes, many investors expect more clarity when he delivers a speech to Congress on Tuesday.

Wednesdays Federal Reserve minutes, which showed that there was less urgency among voting members to raise interest rates, have helped to drive down US treasury yields and the dollar. The yield on 10-year US treasuries hit a two-week low of 2.372%.

Shares were also affected by uncertainty over the European political environment ahead of key elections in France and Germany.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed for the second straight day on Thursday as traders seemed somewhat reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent strength. While the Dow rose 34.72 points or 0.2% to 20,810.32 and the S&P 500 inched up 0.99 points or less than a tenth of a% to 2,363.81, the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by 25.12 points or 0.4% to 5,835.51.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1%, the U.K.s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both dropped by 0.4%.

Oil futures rose Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported a 600,000-barrel build in domestic crude oil inventories. WTI crude for April delivery rose 86 cents, or 1.6%, to close at $54.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market ends down

Australian equity market ended down, following the lacklustre cues from Wall Street overnight, with materials and resources stocks leading retreat on sliding iron ore and copper prices. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 45.70 points, or 0.79%, of 5,739, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 45.60 points, or 0.78%, to 5,786.90. The benchmark ended down 1.3% on the week.

Materials and resources stocks tumbled due to pullback in base metal and iron ore prices. Chinas iron ore futures slid nearly 5% and were headed for a weekly loss, coming off a rapid rally underpinned by expectations that strong infrastructure spending would spur steel demand in the worlds top consumer. Copper prices also tumbled as worries about demand in China resurfaced after the countrys housing minister suggested moves were afoot to stabilise the property market, while a firm dollar reinforced negative sentiment. BHP Billiton, the worlds largest miner by market capitalisation, slumped 3% to A$25.06. Global miners Rio Tinto wilted 4.1% to A$62.88. Fortescue slumped 3.4% to A$6.57.

Financial stocks also took a beating, weighed down by the Big 4 banks. Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 0.6% to A$83.02, National Australia Bank 0.6% to A$31.90, Westpac 0.2% to A$34.09, and Australia & New Zealand Banking 0.7% to A$30.96.

Murray Goulburn plunged 5.6% as it swung to a half-year loss. Dairy processor reported a loss for the first half of the year on lower revenue and cuts its dividend, but expressed confidence for the outlook beyond the current financial year.

Cabcharge was up 6.6% to A$3.86 after reporting a A$106.75 million loss. Underlying net profit after tax was A$12.2 million and the company announced a special 80 cent dividend on top of the interim payout of 10 cents a share.

Nikkei falls on strong yen

The Japan share market settled down for third straight trading session, as risk sentiments weighed down by the yens strength against greenback after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed caution about the strength of the dollar, while an uncertain outlook for U.S. economic stimulus weighed on investor sentiment. Shares were also affected by uncertainty over the European political environment ahead of key elections in France and Germany. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 87.92 points, or 0.45%. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 87.92 points, or 0.45%, to 19,283.54. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 6.11 points, or 0.39%, lower at 1,550.14.

Shares of export-oriented issues such as carmakers and electronics manufacturers tumbled as the yens appreciated against the U.S. dollar, with Toyota Motor falling 0.8% to 6,448 yen, Hitachi shedding 0.2% to 633 yen, and Sony declining 0.8% to 3,486 yen. A stronger yen hurts the profitability of Japans major exporters and tends to dent demand for their shares. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, slipped 0.28% to 35,180 yen and mobile carrier SoftBank, another heavyweight, dropped 0.48% to 8,600 yen.

Shares of insurers and banks dropped, tracking lower bond yields in the U.S. and Japan. So-called cyclical stocks, which had benefited from the prospect of U.S. fiscal stimulus, stronger U.S. growth and a higher dollar, were hurt by some profit-taking. Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. fell 1.4% to 2,175.0 yen. Major bank Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. lost 0.9% to 4,168 yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. dropped 0.8% to 758.4 yen despite news that the company will move into online retail banking in the U.S. to boost dollar deposits.

Issues that had rallied on expectations for Trumps fiscal stimulus also dropped. Construction machinery maker Komatsu fell 5.4% to 2,710.5 yen. Steel maker JFE Holdings Inc. dropped 2.1% to 2,156 yen. Taiheiyo Cement was down 3.7% at 391 yen, and Mitsui Mining and Smelting decreased 3.6% to 370 yen.

Toshiba Corp. remained volatile, ending up 4.1% at 223.9 yen after falling 4.3% on Thursday and jumping 22% on Wednesday. The rebound came after a news report said it may place its loss-hit US nuclear arm Westinghouse Electric into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Separately, Toshiba said it was ready to spin off a majority stake in its prized memory chip business -- seen as critical to raising cash and repairing its battered balance sheet.

China Stocks close flat

Mainland China stock market closed virtually flat after reversing initial losses, as reform hopes continued to support risk appetite buying. Sector performance was mixed, with gains were led by logistics and transport stocks, while losses were led by material stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.1% to 3,253.4. The large-cap CSI 300 Index rose 0.02% to 3,473.9, the Shenzhen Component Index gained 0.1% to 10,443.7, and the Nasdaq-like ChiNext increased 0.7% to 1,938.4. For the week, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.6%, extending its rising trend for the third consecutive week.

S.F. Holding, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Wang Wei, surged by the 10% trade limit to a near four-month high, surpassing China Vanke and Midea Group to become the largest stock by market value on Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Shares in SF Express, mainland Chinas largest express delivery company, soared by their daily limit of 10% to 55.2 yuan in Shenzhen in their debut trading after a back door listing through a reverse takeover of a listed rare earth trader.

The Chinese currency renminbi, or yuan, was firmed up against the U.S. dollar even after the Peoples Bank of China set the midpoint rate stronger. The Peoples Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.8655 per dollar prior to market open, firmer than the previous fix of 6.8695. The spot market opened at 6.8718 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.8705 at midday, 30 pips stronger than the previous late session close and 0.07% weaker than the midpoint.

Hong Kong Stocks falls on profit booking

The Hong Kong stock market closed down on Friday, 24 February 2017, dragged down by profit-taking, which offset a rally in telecommunication and aviation stocks. The Hang Seng Index closed 0.6% lower at 23,965.7, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index ended 1% lower to 10,418.7. Total turnover on the main board decreased slightly to HK$80.4 billion from HK$81.8 billion on Thursday. For the week, the index lost 0.3%.

The northbound quota balance of the Shanghai-HK Connect program was RMB12.637 billion, accounting for 97.2% of the daily allowed quota of RMB13 billion. The southbound quota balance was RMB9.937 billion, accounting for 94.6% of the daily allowed quota of RMB10.5 billion.

As for the Shenzhen-HK Connect, the northbound quota balance was RMB12.421 billion, accounting for 95.5% of the daily allowed quota of RMB13 billion. The southbound quota balance was RMB10.131 billion, accounting for 96.5% of the daily allowed quota of RMB10.5 billion.

China Unicom was the best performing blue chip, with its shares up 2.9% to HK$9.6, their best level since December 9 after a state-controlled newspaper, citing officials, reported that the telecom sector is the key target for mixed ownership reform.

Aviation stocks also gained strength. Beijing Capital International Airport jumped 4.9% to HK$8.4 while China Eastern Airlines rose 4% to HK$4.5.

Apple parts suppliers followed the retreat of the US tech giant on Wall Street overnight. AAC Technologies, the acoustic component manufacturer which works with Apple, was the biggest loser on the Hang Seng Index, sinking 4.7% to HK$82.8. Sunny Optical Technology, which supplies dual cameras for Apples iPhone 7 Plus, fell 5.6% to HK$50.

AIA Group shares were down 0.6% to HK$48.8, despite better-than-expected annual results and dividend payment. The insurer announced 25% growth in the value of new business for 2016, based on actual exchange rates, and declared a 25% increase in final dividend.

Esprit (00330) soared 7.4% to HK$7.29 after Deutsche Banks rating and target price upgrade. The research house raised its target price for Esprit Holdings (00330) to HK$5.83 from HK$5.48, and upgraded its rating to hold from sell. Esprit Holdings (00330) on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, released earning results, showing its profit attributable to shareholders of HK$61 million for the six months ended 31 December 2016, as compared to the loss of HK$238 million for the same period last year. The revenue was HK$8,323 million, a decrease of 10.6% from a year earlier. The Groups gross profit fell 7% year-on-year to HK$4,371 million, which results in gross profit margin of 52.5%, representing a yoy increase of 2 percentage points.

Indian stock market shut on account of Mahashivratri

Indian stock markets remains shut today, 24 February 2017 on account of Mahashivratri.

Indian stock market logged small gains on Thursday, 23 February 2017. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, gained 28.26 points or 0.1% to settle at 28,892.97. The Nifty 50 index rose 12.60 points or 0.14% to settle at 8,939.50. Shares of index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) fell on profit booking. Telecom shares rose after Bharti Airtel said it will acquire Telenor India. IT stocks reversed yesterdays slide. Bank stocks saw mixed trend.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealands NZX50 was down 0.4% to 7058.58. South Koreas KOSPI index dropped 0.64% to 2094.12. Taiwans Taiex index fell 0.2% to 9750.47. Malaysias KLCI shed 0.36% to 1698.35. Indonesias Jakarta Composite index added 0.24% to 5385.91. Singapores Straits Times index slid 0.65% to 3117.03.

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Hong Kong Stocks falls on profit booking
Feb 24,2017

The Hong Kong stock market closed down on Friday, 24 February 2017, dragged down by profit-taking, which offset a rally in telecommunication and aviation stocks. The Hang Seng Index closed 0.6% lower at 23,965.7, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index ended 1% lower to 10,418.7. Total turnover on the main board decreased slightly to HK$80.4 billion from HK$81.8 billion on Thursday. For the week, the index lost 0.3%.

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China Stocks close flat
Feb 24,2017

Mainland China stock market closed virtually flat after reversing initial losses on Friday, 24 February 2017, as reform hopes continued to support risk appetite buying. Sector performance was mixed, with gains were led by logistics and transport stocks, while losses were led by material stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.1% to 3,253.4. The large-cap CSI 300 Index rose 0.02% to 3,473.9, the Shenzhen Component Index gained 0.1% to 10,443.7, and the Nasdaq-like ChiNext increased 0.7% to 1,938.4. For the week, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.6%, extending its rising trend for the third consecutive week.

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Nikkei falls on strong yen
Feb 24,2017

The Japan share market settled down for third straight trading session on Friday, 24 February 2017, as risk sentiments weighed down by the yens strength against greenback after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed caution about the strength of the dollar, while an uncertain outlook for U.S. economic stimulus weighed on investor sentiment. Shares were also affected by uncertainty over the European political environment ahead of key elections in France and Germany. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 87.92 points, or 0.45%. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 87.92 points, or 0.45%, to 19,283.54. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 6.11 points, or 0.39%, lower at 1,550.14.

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Australia Market ends down
Feb 24,2017

Australian equity market ended down on Friday, 24 February 2017, following the lacklustre cues from Wall Street overnight, with materials and resources stocks leading retreat on sliding iron ore and copper prices. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 45.70 points, or 0.79%, of 5,739, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 45.60 points, or 0.78%, to 5,786.90. The benchmark ended down 1.3% on the week.

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Australia Miner weighs down stocks
Feb 24,2017

Australian equity market ended down on Friday, 24 February 2017, following the lacklustre cues from Wall Street overnight, with materials and resources stocks leading retreat on sliding iron ore and copper prices. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 45.70 points, or 0.79%, of 5,739, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 45.60 points, or 0.78%, to 5,786.90. The benchmark ended down 1.3% on the week.

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