Asian Exchanges Higher On Overnight Wall Street Cues

Asian stock markets Tuesday gained on overnight Wall Street record-high closes and declining geopolitical tensions regarding North Korea. Tokyo posted solid green, while Shanghai and Hong Kong eked out gains, and other regional exchanges finished higher.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rallied for a second day, up 1.18% on the New York and Korean signals and a softer yen, the latter regarded positively in trade-oriented Japan.

In other news, Meiji (MEJHY, 2269;Tokyo) the largest chocolate-maker in Japan, reported sales of its upscale THE Chocolate brand are double projected, and that it must buy more cocoa from Latin America. A single 50-gram THE bar costs more than $2.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 opened higher and gave back no ground, finishing up 230.85, to 19,776.62, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 179 to 40.

Leading the upside were Japan Steel (JPSWY, 5631:Tokyo), up 16.5% on industry merger speculation; followed by battery-maker GS Yuasa (GYUAF, 6674:Tokyo), up 5.5%; and then machine-tools maker Okuna (6103:Tokyo), up 5.3%.

On the downside were Hawaii-centric real estate developer Haseko (HSKCF, 1808:Tokyo), off 2.7%; and then Yahoo Japan (YAHOY, 4689:Tokyo), off 1.7%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened higher but finished flat, up a nominal 0.06% as traders booked profits in high-flying financial and property issues.

The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 17.11 to 27,972.24, although losing issues outnumbered gainers 31 to 16, making for a mixed day.

Leading the upside were Geely Automotive (175:HK), up 6.0%; followed by coal-burning power plant operator China Resources Power (836:HK), up 1.9%; and then Macau gaming house Galaxy Entertainment (27:HK), up 1.0%.

On the downside were diaper-maker Hengan International (1044:HK), off 3.0%, and then Hang Lung Properties (101:HK), off 1.7%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.09% to 3,379.49.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi gained 0.27%; the Taiwan TWSE rose 0.36%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.58%; the Singapore Straits Times Index gained 0.22%; and the Thai Set gained 0.37%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.89%.

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