Australia, China Markets Enjoy Santa Rally, While Japan Slips

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Tuesday in anticipation of the as lawmakers are expected to pass the Republican tax plan as early as Tuesday. However, Japan benchmark indices gave back early gains to close flat ahead of the Bank of Japan policy meeting this Thursday (Dec.21).

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 0.7% higher as investors bought some of the index's best performing stocks of the year. Ping An Insurance (2318.HK), which has surged 106% this year, gained a further 3.56%, Apple-supplier AAC Technologies (2018.HK), which is up 99% so far, added another 2.4%, while car maker Geely Automobile (175.HK), which has accelerated a massive 238%, rose 1.4%. Property developers were the worst performers with Country Garden (2007.HK) down 0.1%, China Resources Land (1109.HK) retreating 0.7% and New World Development (17.HK) falling 0.5%. Shares of Li & Fung slumped 4.5% after ratings agency Moody's placed the Hong Kong-based trading firm on review for downgrade, calling the HK$8.5 billion ($1.1 billion) divestment of its product vertical business negative because the move reduces diversification, operating profit and equity base. The Shanghai Composite posted a solid 0.88% gain, while the CSI 300, which tracks large cap companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, rallied 1.26% higher.

Following yesterday's rally, Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.15%, while the broader TOPIX closed 0.2% lower dragged down by construction and railway stocks amid an ongoing investigation into antitrust violations related to bid rigging on a maglev train project. Shares in Taisei (1801.JP) slumped more than 6% on reports that the headquarters of the construction company had been raided in relation to the investigation. Shares in fellow construction companies Kajima (1812.JP), Shimizu (1803.JP) and Obayashi (1802.JP) also fell. Medical robotics company Cyberdyne (7779.JP) jumped almost 10% after its Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) for lower limb medical use obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Australia's bellwether S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.5% higher, buoyed by mining and resources stocks following stronger overnight commodity prices. Among the biggest gainers were: graphite miner Syrah Resources (SYR.AU), which gained 5.6%, while lithium miners Orocobre (ORE.AU)and Pilbara Minerals (PLS.AU) jumped 5.2% and 3.9%, respectively. BHP Billiton (BHP.AU) advanced 0.78%, while and Rio Tinto (RIO.AU) rose 1.3%. The positive sentiment extended to the big four banks - Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) was up 1.3%, ANZ (ANZ.AU) gained 0.7%, National Australia Bank (NAB.AU) advanced 0.54%, while Westpac (WBC.AU) rose 0.06%. Beleaguered Retail Food Group plummeted a further 25% after the owner of Brumby's, Donut King and Gloria Jean's brands warned that profits for 1H18 is expected to be AUD22 million, compared to AUD33.5 million for the same period last year.

Elsewhere, Korea's KOSPI ended 0.13% lower, while Taiwan's tech-heavy TAIEX closed 0.37% down.

European markets are mixed, with the Euro STOXX 50 flat, the German DAX 0.1% higher, while the France CAC 40 is a tad lower.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.