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Most Asian markets rise, as Tokyo hits new 7-month high, Hong Kong sees record close

Most Asian markets rise, as Tokyo hits new 7-month high, Hong Kong sees record close

Most Asian markets rose Wednesday, as Tokyo shares hit another seven-month high and shares in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand surged to fresh record highs.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index added 53.96 points, or 0.31 percent, to finish at 17,223.15 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday _ the highest since closing at 17,291.67 points on May 8.
Buying of blue-chip stocks on the back of good earnings outlooks helped boost the Nikkei. Exporter stocks also picked up ground following overnight gains on Wall Street in post-holiday trading.
The share price retreat for major steel makers, which reached all-time highs earlier in the day, illustrated investors' cautious stance, however. But traders said their money is moving among a wide range of sectors and should keep the market well-supported near term.
"When the market picked up in October, investors were just buying Japan Inc., but they are now going after a wide range of issues with steel and auto maker shares serving as good pillars," said Cosmo Securities equity strategist Kenichi Azuma.
Overnight in New York, stocks rebounded as lower oil prices encouraged investors to add to their portfolios in the final days of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 64.41, or 0.52 percent, to 12,407.63.
Toyota Motor Corp. was among Tokyo's winners, adding 1.9 percent to 7,920 yen (US$66.68; euro50.55) after reports that the company's chief executive met last week in Tokyo with his counterpart from U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co.
Other winners included Honda Motor Co. and electronics makers Sony Corp. and NEC Corp.
In Hong Kong, shares surged to a record high, led by blue-chip phone company China Netcom and Hong Kong-listed Chinese financial stocks.
The Hang Seng Index rose 405.21 points, or 2.1 percent, to end at 19,725.73, surpassing the record 19,320.52 close last Friday.
China Netcom sharply outran the broader market, jumping 30.8 percent to HK$25.45 on speculation that it may buy assets from rival China Unicom, which jumped nearly 8 percent to HK$11.40.
The spike in the phone company stocks came even though both companies issued statements saying there were no ongoing negotiations in relation to acquisitions.
Chinese financial stocks also soared following a recent rally on the domestic market, as well as proposed tax policies on the mainland.
Financial firm China Life jumped 11.7 percent to HK$27.20, while Ping An soared 17.2 percent to HK$44.90. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China surged 13.2 percent to HK$4.98.
Traders said the uptrend of Hong Kong-listed Chinese stocks would continue, as China is looking into imposing a unified tax rate of 25 percent for local and foreign companies.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar was trading at 118.70 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market late Wednesday, down from 119.18 yen from late Tuesday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3154 from US$1.3096.
Elsewhere:
BANGKOK: Thai shares fell on profit taking in blue chips after recent gains. The Stock Exchange of Thailand's SET index ended down 0.1 percent at 687.88.
JAKARTA: Indonesian shares hit a fresh all-time high on gains in telcos, bank and automotive blue chips. The Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite index closed up 19.29 points, or 1.1 percent, at 1,803.26, surpassing the last best finish of 1,789.09 achieved on Dec. 21.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares climbed as year-end window-dressing by local institutional funds bolstered sentiment. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index of 100 blue chips added 0.5 percent to 1,083.22 points.
MANILA: Philippine shares climbed to their best level in nine-and-a-half years on an upbeat economic outlook for the country. The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 5.16 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,883.47 _ its best finish since June 19, 1997.
MUMBAI: Indian shares ended higher in thin trade, led by index heavyweight Reliance Industries and technology stocks in a market poised to rise further as companies prepare to report quarterly earnings in January. The Sensex rose 151.35 points, or 1.1 percent, to 13,859.69.
SEOUL: South Korean shares closed lower, as sales of stocks that went ex-dividend Wednesday put downward pressure on other issues, with telecommunication and bank shares bearing most of the weight. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, fell 0.6 percent, or 8.82 points, to 1,425.10 in light volume.
SHANGHAI: China's benchmark stock index closed above the 2,500 level for the first time, as securities funds sought to push up large-capitalized companies for year-end window-dressing purposes. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both A and B shares, ended up 2.3 percent at 2,536.39. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.1 percent to 545.58.
SINGAPORE: Singapore's shares closed up after touching a record high intraday on broad strength in blue chips. The Straits Times Index was up 18.72 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,961.25.
SYDNEY: Gains on Wall Street and expectations of a strong month end propelled Australian stocks to a record high. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 39.5 points, or 0.7 percent, to a record high close of 5,643.2.
TAIPEI: Taiwan's shares rose slightly after profit-taking in financial issues erased early gains. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange gained 5.59 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,733.18.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand stocks hit a fresh all-time high in thin post-holiday trading, and the market is poised to rise later in the week as investors square up positions ahead of the year-end break. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,032.07, eclipsing an intraday high of 4,030.99 touched late last week.


Updated : 2021-06-19 09:25 GMT+08:00