ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Continue Rally; Taiwan Stocks Jump To 28-year High

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

China's banking regulator issues new rules

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Asian equities moved broadly higher early Monday, extending last week's global stock rally, even as some local markets underwent a bout of morning weakness.

The same happened Friday before markets in the region were almost uniformly able to end the week with solid gains.

Indexes in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan opened lower, weighed by fresh regulatory steps in China, but staged a turnaround later in the session to close in positive territory.

Taiwan's Taiex rose 0.3% to close at an almost 28-year high, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.5% higher for a seventh straight session of gains. The Hang Seng Index added 0.3%, supported by a jump in Chinese property developers.

Weighing on Greater China stocks initially were steps by China's banking regulator announced Friday. They "sent one clear message" that fundamentals and transparency "will be the key regulatory guidance for China's commercial banks to contain financial risk," said Tommy Xie, an economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore.

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Major Chinese banks pared early weakness in Hong Kong, with Bank of China (3988.HK) closing 0.8% lower and China Construction Bank (0939.HK) falling 0.4%.

Broadly in the region, "there are no signs of a pullback yet," said Margaret Yang, a market analyst at CMC. Asian equities should maintain a positive outlook as major markets appear set to keep building on recent gains, she added.

South Korea was among best performing markets on Monday, with the Kospi closing 0.6% higher as the Korean won fell 1% against the dollar during a 10-minute stretch of midmorning trading. Traders blamed the currency weakness on central-bank intervention, as the won had been at its strongest levels versus the dollar since 2014.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 hit a new 10-year high Monday. The benchmark advanced 0.1%, helped by gains in the country's big banks.

New Zealand's NZX 50 benchmark ended down 0.4% after setting three straight record closing highs last week.

Japanese markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

Sara Sjolin contributed to this article

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 08, 2018 04:11 ET (09:11 GMT)