Asian Equities Rise on First Trading Day of 2018

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By Investors Hub

Most Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2018, as a survey of Chinese manufacturing beat forecasts and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he is open to talks with South Korea.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 41.88 points or 1.3 percent to 3,349.05 after the Caixin manufacturing PMI showed a reading of 51.5 in December, beating expectations and also touching a four-month high.

Separately, official data showed that China’s manufacturing activity edged down slightly in December, but largely maintained momentum. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 596.16 or 2 percent to 30,515.31.

Australian shares ended the first trading day of the New Year on a subdued note in the absence of overseas leads. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index ended down 3.80 points or 0.1 percent at 6,061.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index finished marginally lower at 6,166.

Banks succumbed to selling pressure, with Commonwealth, Westpac and ANZ losing between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent. Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 0.4 percent and Rio Tinto added 0.9 percent, aided by higher iron ore prices, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group gained more than 1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining advanced 1.1 percent, utility AGL Energy rose 0.7 percent and telecom giant Telstra added 0.8 percent.

On the economic front, Australia’s manufacturing sector continued to expand strongly at the end of the year, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed. The PMI dropped to 56.2 in December from 57.3 in November.

South Korea’s Kospi rose half a percent to close at 2,479.65 amid ebbing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. LG Chem rallied 1.5 percent after the chemicals maker announced it would spend more than 1 trillion won (US$937 million) on research and development this year.

South Korea’s manufacturing sector deteriorated at the end of the year, albeit marginally, survey figures from IHS Markit showed today.

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