By Dow Jones Newswire
Asia-Pacific stocks finished broadly higher, and benchmarks in Taiwan and South Korea logged their fifth straight gains.
So-called defensive stocks led Japan’s market higher, signaling market caution on U.S. trade, political and monetary-policy developments. The Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.14% gained 0.2% to close at 22,410.82, but auto stocks lagged after Wednesday’s traded-fueled jump. Suzuki /zigman2/quotes/201794956/delayed JP:7269 +0.30% tumbled 4.8% and auto-parts maker Denso /zigman2/quotes/201343434/delayed JP:6902 -0.77% dropped 2.8%. Among big-cap movers, furniture retailer Nitori /zigman2/quotes/202897004/delayed JP:9843 +2.98% climbed 3.8%% while ground-transportation firm Yamato /zigman2/quotes/207036626/delayed JP:9064 -1.01% rose 2.5% and health care-equipment maker Sysmex /zigman2/quotes/209498760/delayed JP:6869 -0.09% added 1.7%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.61% was a rare decliner, as it ended a four-day winning streak. The benchmark shed 0.5% to 2,7491.46 as most heavyweights gave up ground. Insurer AIA fell 1% ahead of Friday’s second-quarter results. Smartphone-components firm AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +0.11% lost 4.2% after post-earnings gains earlier this week as analysts slashed stock targets. And smartphone maker Xiaomi /zigman2/quotes/208140246/delayed HK:1810 +1.96% ended down 1.4%, giving up large early gains in the wake of earnings. Elsewhere, casino developer Landing International Development /zigman2/quotes/204873534/delayed HK:582 -1.69% plunged 35% before trading was halted amid apparent questions about the status of a Manila project.
Chinese stocks ended with gains on the strength of an afternoon rally, with the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.81% adding 0.4% to 2,724.62 and Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.62% rising 0.6% to 1,463.69. Tech and insurance sectors led the gains while commodities were laggards. ZTE /zigman2/quotes/209674390/delayed CN:000063 +2.31% climbed 8.4% after Xiaomi earnings and insurer Ping An /zigman2/quotes/202773380/delayed CN:601318 -0.15% advanced a further 2% on top of Wednesday’s earnings-driven gains.
Australia’s ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.07% fell 0.3% to 6,244.4 as the financial sector fell at least 1% for a third straight day, the first streak of its kind since January 2016’s global stock slump. But materials rose 0.6% and the lightly weighted telecom sector climbed a further 1.9% on M&A hopes. As earnings season continues, Qantas Airways /zigman2/quotes/205534063/delayed AU:QAN -0.38% fell 2.8%, but Santos /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -0.42% jumped 11% to fresh three-year highs.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR +0.38% snapped a seven-session win streak, including record closing highs for the past three days, as it fell 0.25% to close at 9,139.87 . Air New Zealand /zigman2/quotes/200916351/delayed NZ:AIR +0.85% dropped 4.3% following its earnings report and Wednesday’s 3% jump in oil prices. .
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.13% rose 0.4% to 2,282.60, a two-week closing high. Taiwan’s Taiex also reached a two=-week closing high after adding 0.55% to 10,863.13. Benchmarks in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.53% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.0081% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.11% , which were closed for holidays Wednesday, also rose.