Asia Markets: Asian stock markets mostly fight their way higher

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With a number of Southeast Asian markets closed for a holiday, equities in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region generally continued their winning ways in early trading Wednesday. But S&P 500 futures ESU8, -0.20%   were down 0.2% in the wake of the fresh political storm encircling President Donald Trump with Paul Manafort’s conviction and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.60%   was up about 0.5% after the yen pulled back overnight. Automakers benefited, with Toyota 7203, +2.19%  and Honda 7267, +1.93%   up about 2%.

Chinese stocks opened slightly lower after two days of 1%-plus gains, reversing some of last week’s sharp declines. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.52%   was off 0.4%, while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.76%   was down 0.6%. Consumer names were modestly underperforming in initial trading while financials were little changed.

Hong Kong stocks initially joined those on the mainland in starting lower, but the Hang Seng HSI, +0.47%   rallied into positive territory, and was last up 0.5%. Ping An 1833, +4.16%   surged 4%, while HSBC 0005, -0.43%   and China Mobile 0941, -1.08%  fell.

Australia’s benchmark XJO, -0.28%   added to Tuesday’s underperformance, pressured further by fresh 1% declines in financials and materials. Stocks were up again in New Zealand, though, with the NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.33%   on pace for another record closing high.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.34%   gained 0.3%, as Samsung 005930, +2.46%   rose more than 2%. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.18%   rose slightly. Indexes in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays.

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