Asia Markets: Asian markets shove their way higher

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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 NIK, +0.22% gained 0.2% to close at 22,410.82, but auto stocks lagged after Wednesday’s traded-fueled jump. Suzuki 7269, -4.78%  tumbled 4.8% and auto-parts maker Denso 6902, -2.81%  dropped 2.8%. Among big-cap movers, furniture retailer Nitori 9843, +3.85%  climbed 3.8%% while ground-transportation firm Yamato 9064, +2.51%  rose 2.5% and health care-equipment maker Sysmex 6869, +1.69% added 1.7%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.49%  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 2018, -4.19% lost 4.2% after post-earnings gains earlier this week as analysts slashed stock targets. And smartphone maker Xiaomi 1810, -1.36% ended down 1.4%, giving up large early gains in the wake of earnings. Elsewhere, casino developer Landing International Development 0582, -35.06% 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 SHCOMP, +0.37% adding 0.4% to 2,724.62 and Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.63% rising 0.6% to 1,463.69. Tech and insurance sectors led the gains while commodities were laggards. ZTE 000063, +8.42% climbed 8.4% after Xiaomi earnings and insurer Ping An 601318, +1.97% advanced a further 2% on top of Wednesday’s earnings-driven gains.

Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, -0.34% 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 QAN, -2.83%  fell 2.8%, but Santos STO, +11.32% jumped 11% to fresh three-year highs.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, -0.25% 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 AIR, -4.25% dropped 4.3% following its earnings report and Wednesday’s 3% jump in oil prices. .

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.41% rose 0.4% to 2,282.60, a two-week closing high. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.55% also reached a two=-week closing high after adding 0.55% to 10,863.13. Benchmarks in Singapore STI, +1.70% Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.31%  and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.88%  , which were closed for holidays Wednesday, also rose.

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