Asian Equities Rise after US House Republicans Okay Tax Reform

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By Investors Hub

Asian stocks extended gains to close broadly higher on Friday after U.S. House Republicans voted to approve a tax reform bill, a step forward on President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

The dollar weakened against the yen, while oil held steady but was on track for its first weekly fall in six on supply worries.

Japanese shares extended gains from the previous session, although the yen’s strength limited the upside. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 45.68 or 0.2 percent to finish at 22,396.80, and the broader Topix index closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,763.76. Rubber, metal and insurance stocks were among the prominent gainers.

Australian shares rose modestly, led by financial and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 13.80 points or 0.2 percent to 5,957.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.3 percent higher at 6,038.30.

Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, and energy stocks Origin Energy and Santos rose about 1 percent each. Mining giant BHP Billiton slid half a percent after saying it hopes to fully divest its U.S. shale business in the next two years.

Online consumer electronics Kogan.com surged up 12.6 percent after it reported a 36 percent jump in revenue for the four months ended October.

Tabcorp Holdings jumped 4.8 percent after the Australian Competition Tribunal cleared the A$11 billion merger between the gaming giant and Tatts Group on the condition that Tabcorp will divest its Odyssey Gaming business in Queensland. Tatts Group shares advanced 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Chinese shares fell on worries over slowing growth. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 16.91 points or 0.5 percent to 3,382.34 and ended the week about 1.5 percent lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 180.28 points or 0.6 percent to 29,199.04.

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