Asian Equities Pare Early Gains to End Mixed

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks pared early gains to end mixed on Thursday as optimism over the Republican tax reform plan faded and tensions continued to flare in the Middle East.

The yen was a little weaker and oil held steady after overnight losses, while strong inflation data out of China underscored the resilience of the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese shares ended at a fresh two-year high as encouraging inflation data pointed to a pickup in global demand. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 12.33 points or 0.4 percent to 3,427.79, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 228.97 points or 0.8 percent to 29,136.57.

Inflation in China climbed at the fastest pace in nine months in October and producer price inflation exceeded expectations as measures taken to curb pollution raised commodity prices.

Consumer price inflation rose to 1.9 percent in October from 1.6 percent in September, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. This was the highest rate since January, when inflation was 2.5 percent. Producer price inflation held steady at 6.9 percent in October, while it was forecast to ease to 6.6 percent.

Japanese stocks gave up strong early gains to end modestly lower as caution crept in ahead of Friday’s option settlement. The Nikkei 225 Index topped 23,000 for the first time since January of 1992 before reversing direction to end down 45.11 points or 0.2 percent at 22,868.71. The broader Topix Index reached a 26-year high before closing 0.3 percent lower at 1,813.11.

Pasona Group shares jumped over 10 percent after the release of a reform proposal from a Hong Kong-based fund, while Japan Display plunged 10.4 percent and Nissan Motor lost 2 percent on earnings disappointment.

Investors looked past official data showing that Japan’s core machinery orders tumbled at their fastest pace in more than two years in September.

Australian shares rose notably to close near a 10-year high. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index both climbed about 0.6 percent to finish at 6,049.40 and 6,122.40, respectively.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose about half a percent each after iron ore futures in Dalian surged up nearly 2 percent.

NAB tumbled 3.4 percent on going ex-dividend, while the other three banks rose between 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent.

Building materials supplier James Hardie Industries soared 7.6 percent after an acquisition announcement. Property group Goodman Group advanced 2.6 percent after reiterating its full-year 2018 operating earnings outlook.

Santos fell 2.7 percent after the oil and gas producer forecast a significant drop in sales volume for the year ahead.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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