ASIA MARKETS: Asia Stocks Close Mostly Higher As South Korea's Kospi Stages Turnaround

By Kenan MachadoFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Hyundai Heavy plunges 29%

Asia-Pacific stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday as the remainder of the region opened after the Christmas holiday.

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South Korea's Kospi benchmark returned to positive territory as some major tech stocks rebounded, offsetting a massive drop for Hyundai Heavy Industries, which lost more than a quarter of its market value Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks sold off in afternoon trading. The Shanghai Composite ended down 0.9% and the CSI 300 -- made up of the biggest stocks in both Shanghai and Shenzhen -- slid 1.5%.

Smartphone-related companies fell to begin the week, following reports of potential sales weakness for the newest iPhones.

But as more investors returned to their desks after Christmas, Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) rose 2.4% Wednesday and Taiwan's Taiex index finished up 0.6%, as Apple assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry (2317.TW) rose 1.1%.

Other tech stocks were weaker, however. Largan Precision (3008.TW), a Taiwanese company that makes smartphone lenses, fell 4.9%, while Sunny Optical (2382.HK), a Hong Kong-listed peer, declined 4.6%.

Tech has arguably been the world's best-performing sector this year, so it isn't surprising that there has been a year-end pullback, said Felix Lam, a portfolio manager at BNP Paribas Asset Management. He doesn't consider the sector's valuations to be very expensive.

And while the smartphone supply chain will be under pressure in the seasonally weak first quarter, President Securities said it doesn't see fundamentals deteriorating.

The declines for some tech firms partly offset a rebound in Chinese property developers in Hong Kong, leaving the benchmark Hang Seng Index up 0.1% for the day.

Japan and Australia also closed a touch higher, while New Zealand's benchmark ended down 0.2%.

In Korea, the Kospi ended up 0.4% even as Hyundai Heavy plunged 29%.

Hyundai Heavy, the world's biggest shipbuilder, gave guidance through 2018, announced a 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) stock-sale plan to raise funds and said it would sell part of its refining operation.

The update came three weeks after smaller peer Samsung Heavy (010140.SE) lost one-quarter of its value in a day after warning of heavy losses and planning its own stock sale. Its shares were down 2.4% Wednesday morning, hitting 11 1/2 -year lows.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 10:01 ET (15:01 GMT)