ASIA MARKETS: Hong Kong Stocks Hit Decade High As Asian Markets Continue Rally
By Ese Erheriene
Japan's Nikkei rises despite falling dollar; TDK shares surge 6%
Global stocks extended their rally early Wednesday in Asia, with technology shares fueling the gains.
The region saw broad advances, with Hong Kong's stock benchmark topping 30,000 for the first time in a decade, as the Hang Seng Index continued its push toward late 2007's intraday record of 31,958.41.
The early gains in Asia come on the back of fresh highs on Wall Street -- the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite notched its 67th record closing high of 2017 -- and strong results in Asia and Europe on Tuesday.
Benchmarks in Japan and Taiwan , which have major tech companies, rose about 0.8% by midday Wednesday. Japanese electronics stocks were among the region's big gainers, with TDK (>> TDK Corp) surging 6.1% to a fresh two-year high.
The Nikkei's advance came despite the U.S. dollar losing some strength during Asian trading, after outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that she is uncertain weak inflation is transitory. "It may be that there is something more endemic or long-lasting here that we need to pay attention to," Yellen said in a discussion with Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England.
The dollar was recently around Yen112.30, compared with Yen112.50 earlier Wednesday, but some of that reflects money going into Japanese stocks, said Stephen Innes, head of Asia trading at Oanda.
The Hang Seng's recent gains mean "a lot of foreign capital is still betting that the Hong Kong market will go higher," said Margaret Yang, a strategist at CMC Markets. The benchmark has jumped 37% this year, making it among the world's best performers.
It wasn't, however, helped by Tencent Holdings (>> Tencent Holdings Ltd) , which was up just 0.3% Wednesday. The Chinese tech giant has surged this month, pushing its market capitalization above $500 billion. Instead, financials were driving the Hang Seng on Wednesday, especially banks. (>> HSBC Holdings) ICBC (>> Industrial and Commrcl Bank of China Ltd) and China Construction (>> China Construction Bank Corporation) were all up nearly 2%.
Major stock indexes in most Asia Pacific countries were up at least 0.3% by late-morning Wednesday.
Other regional highlights include DBS Group (D05.SG) , Singapore's largest bank, briefly topping its late-1999 record high.
Also, Australia's stock benchmark rose steadily Wednesday, tracking Asian gains in oil prices. After crude rose overnight, futures jumped further in Asian trading following the release of bullish U.S. oil-inventory data. The U.S. crude benchmark was recently up 1.4% at $57.65 a barrel and the global Brent standard gained 0.8%.