Asia Stocks Edge Higher as Hong Kong Rally Offsets Japan Decline

  • ‘Earnings optimism’ lifts China company shares: CMC Markets
  • Hyundai Motor shares climb on speculation of Elliott stake

Asian stocks headed for the eighth day of gains, as rising shares of Hong Kong-listed Chinese firms offset declines in Japan.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose less than 0.1 percent, poised for the highest close in about 21 months. The Hang Seng Index closed 0.4 percent higher, its highest since July 2015, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index added 0.6 percent.

“Earnings optimism is helping to boost Hong Kong shares, with analysts raising forecasts for Chinese companies,” said Margaret Yang, a Singapore-based analyst at CMC Markets. “Plenty of capital is flowing from the north where the mainland government curbs the property market, prompting people to look for better investment opportunities.”

Japanese banks and exporters led the Topix index 0.2 percent lower after the yen strengthened on Friday. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he could see two or three U.S. rate increases this year amid a strong labor market.

Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 8.6 percent amid market speculation over a possible stake purchase by the activist investor Elliott Management. The rumors are untrue, Reuters reported later, citing people familiar with the matter. Shares of companies affiliated with the automaker also gained amid talk it may restructure into a holding company.

Summary

  • Shanghai Composite +0.3%
    • Sinopec Engineering closed 5.3% higher in H.K. on its $5.6b contract target for 2017 and an upgrade to overweight at JPMorgan
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 -0.1%
    • TPG Telecom +5.4% as it reaffirms 2017 earnings target
  • South Korea’s Kospi +1%; Taiwan’s Taiex +0.6%
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index -0.1%; FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI +0.1%
  • Jakarta Composite Index -0.2%; Philippine Stock Exchange Index +0.1%
  • India’s Sensex -0.2%
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