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Asian Shares Mixed As US Senate Passes $1.5 Trillion Tax Bill


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(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks reversed initial losses to close on a mixed note on Wednesday as the final vote on the U.S. tax bill entered a crucial phase.

Senate Republicans voted late Tuesday night to approve their final tax overhaul, which would cut taxes for businesses and individuals while widening American budget deficit and income inequality.

However, a technical vote in the House is still needed before it can be sent to President Donald Trump's desk.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session marginally higher as a weaker yen on U.S. tax cut hopes and gains in the financial sector helped outweigh renewed sell-off in construction shares in the wake of bid-rigging allegations.

The Nikkei average rose 23.72 points or 0.10 percent to 22,891.72 while the broader Topix index closed 0.33 percent higher at 1,821.16.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped around 2 percent after the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to a seven-week high.

Japan Display rallied 3.1 percent after Kyodo reported that it is discussing an investment of more than 200 billion yen from three Chinese panel makers.

Automaker Subaru lost more than 7 percent after reports that it had falsified fuel economy tests.

Australian shares recovered from initial losses to finish marginally higher, led by miners underpinned by recent strength in commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 3.80 points to end at 6,075.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 4.70 points higher at 6,167.90.

Embattled theme park operator Ardent Leisure jumped almost 12 percent after divesting the last of its non-core assets. Downer EDI rallied 1.8 percent on winning a A$400 million mining contract.

Retail Food Group slumped 18 percent to extend Tuesday's plunge following its profit warning. TPG Telecom lost about 1 percent after saying it would compensate nearly 8,000 customers who paid for national broadband network plans.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Westpac Bank revealed that the Australian economy continued to expand in November, albeit at a slightly slower rate.

Seoul shares fell on profit taking by foreign investors ahead of the fourth-quarter corporate earnings season. The benchmark Kospi dropped 6.16 points or 0.25 percent to finish at 2,472.37. While tech stocks paced the decliners, steelmakers Dongkuk Steel Mill and POSCO rallied 1-2 percent.

New Zealand shares fell slightly, led lower by A2 Milk and property stocks such as Goodman Property and Kiwi Property Group. Synlait Milk soared 4.8 percent after entering into a partnership agreement with wholesaler and retailer Foodstuffs South Island. The benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index ended down 17.64 points or 0.21 percent at 8,383.56.

New Zealand posted a merchandise trade deficit of NZ$1.193 billion in November, Statistics New Zealand said - missing expectations for a shortfall of NZ$550 million following the NZ$843 million deficit in October.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was rising 0.7 percent. A government report showed that Malaysia's consumer price inflation climbed 3.4 percent year-over-year in November, slower than the 3.7 percent rise in October but matching the consensus estimate.

India's Sensex was rising 0.2 percent and the Taiwan Weighted gained 0.4 percent while Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down as much as 1.2 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was declining 0.3 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks retreated from record highs as investors pondered the impact of tax reform on monetary policy stimulus and interest rates.

The Dow dropped 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 slid 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4 percent.

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This article appears in: Politics , World Markets , US Markets , Stocks


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