Nikkei slips as yen rises; Tencent hits record highs after strong earnings
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Equities extended this week's gains a bit further early Thursday as minutes of the Federal Reserve's meeting revealed a deeper-than-expected divide on the timing of the next interest rate increase.
The prospect of a slower pace of additional rate increases pressured the dollar in Wednesday afternoon U.S. trading, and the subsequent gain in the yen weighed on Japanese stocks early Thursday. The Nikkei was recently down 0.2% at the dollar fell to session lows of Yen109.80 in Asian trading, the greenback's lowest level since Tuesday.
Still, this year's rebound for the yen doesn't seen to be hitting Japan's economy. Exports rose 13% in July from a year ago, the eighth-straight monthly gain, government data showed Thursday. Japanese stocks often fall when the yen strengthens amid fears that a stronger currency will hit exporters -- a key facet of the country's economy.
Stocks elsewhere in Asia were generally slightly higher Thursday, mirroring modest gains in U.S. equities overnight.
While Rob Carnell, head of Asia research at ING, said, "Confusion reigns at the Federal Reserve," he added Asian markets were likely to take comfort in additional rate increases are likely to come "at worst at a very-modest pace."
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Gains of 0.2% to 0.4% were seen in the likes of Australia , South Korea and New Zealand -- the latter having set record closing highs each of the past two sessions. Meanwhile, helping Korea's Kospi was a 1.8% rebound in Samsung (005930.SE) amid broad early strength for tech stocks in general.
In Taiwan, Pegatron (4938.TW) , Foxconn (2354.TW) and Catcher (2474.TW) rose about 1% each while the Taiex index was up a more-modest 0.4%.
But the region's biggest tech stock, Tencent (0700.HK) , jumped 4% to fresh record highs in Hong Kong as its second-quarter results were notably stronger than analysts expected. That helped the Hang Seng Index , of which the messaging/gaming giant is the biggest component, climb 0.4% just after the opening bell.
Also strong early Thursday was metals-related stocks amid a rebound in prices fueled by the weaker dollar. The likes of Rio Tinto (RIO) and Sumitomo Metal (5713.TO) rose 2%.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 16, 2017 22:33 ET (02:33 GMT)