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Global Markets: Hong Kong and China Lead Gains -- Update1-1-18 11:38 PM EST
By Kenan Machado 

Equities in Hong Kong and mainland China led gains in the Asia-Pacific region Tuesday, though stocks in Malaysia fell to begin the new year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the morning session 1.7% higher to reach fresh 10-year highs. Banks and insurers made up more than half of the index's 500-point gain in the late morning.

Chinese internet heavyweight Tencent Holdings added 75 points with its 2.6% again.

"Most of the bad news is behind us and some stocks are seen as underpriced by speculative buyers," said Linus Yip, an equities strategist at First Shanghai Securities. He specifically cited tech stocks as having fallen into the end of 2017.

Hong Kong-listed Sunny Optical and AAC Technologies Holdings, in particular, had lost about a third of their market value in a month. The suppliers of smartphone components gained 8.2% and 6.4%, respectively.

Largan Precision, which makes lenses for smartphone cameras, climbed 4.5% in Taiwan, helping push the Taiex up 0.4%. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing rose 0.9%.

In China, the large-cap CSI 300 ending morning trading with a 1.2% gain.

Malaysian stocks reversed a gain from late last week that put the country's benchmark for equities at a 2 1/2 -year high. The KLCI was recently down 0.9% as Sime Darby Plantation and KLCC Property Holdings, which surged Friday, fell about 8% each Tuesday.

In South Korea, airline stocks rose as much as 5% and other tourist-related equities rose 2%, helping to lift the Kospi 0.3%. Hyundai Motor was down 2%.

On Monday, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un extended an apparent olive branch to the South, though he warned that "a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office."

"The key companies that should benefit from the 'temporary truce' between North and South Korea are likely to be in the consumer, leisure and travel sectors," said Douglas Kim, an independent analyst.

Markets in Japan and New Zealand were closed Tuesday.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar started 2018 as it ended last year--lower. The WSJ Dollar Index was recently off 0.1% after falling to its lowest level since late September on Friday. Last year, the index slid 7.5%, its worst year since 2003.

Write to Kenan Machado at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 01, 2018 23:38 ET (04:38 GMT)

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