ASIA MARKETS: China Stocks Rise, While Tech Losses Weigh On Taiwan, South Korea

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Stocks in Japan and South Korea fell in Tuesday-afternoon trading, finishing near session lows, while Chinese equities rebounded from morning weakness as some Asian markets remain closed for a holiday and others saw their first action of the week after Christmas.

Shenzhen equities fell some 1% after the opening bell, adding to Monday's declines and 2017's struggles for the small-cap market. But the Shenzhen Composite finished up 0.2% Tuesday, and the startup-heavy ChiNext rose 0.4%.

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The Shanghai Composite , which includes more state-owned enterprises than the Shenzhen indexes, held up better in the morning and ended with a 0.8% gain. That came as Chinese authorities approved new developments, lifting shares related to the Shanghai free-trade zone.

But as Japanese and South Korean stocks faded late in light volume, Taiwan stocks were weak throughout Tuesday's trading. The Taiex followed Monday's largely flat performance with a 1% decline, with drops of that size by index heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor (2330.TW) and Apple product assembler Hon Hai (2317.TW), known to many as Foxconn.

Tech also weighed in South Korea, where Samsung (005930.SE) fell 3% and smaller rival SK Hynix (000660.SE) slid 3.4%. That was too much for the Kospi to overcome, finishing down 0.5% in its first trading of the week. Because of Samsung's fourth-quarter pullback, the index had fallen five of the past seven weeks.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.2% after setting its latest 26-year closing high Monday. But department stores rose solidly Tuesday after Takashimaya posted solid fiscal third-quarter earnings, raising the prospects of higher consumer spending.

Meanwhile, new government data showed that household spending rose 1.7% in November from a year earlier, much better than the 0.5% increase that had been expected. That included higher luxury spending, which Okasan Securities strategist Yoshinori Ogawa said was likely due to the strong Japanese stock-market gains seen since September.

Takashimaya (8007.TO) jumped 3.8% Tuesday and Isetan Mitsukoshi (3099.TO) rose 2.2%.

The Nikkei has been staying just below 23000 for weeks after jumping about 20% from September to November. Okasan Securities' Mr. Ogawa said one focus in 2018 would be the Bank of Japan's possible shifts away from extraordinary easing programs as othecentral banks tighten their policy.

"Stock markets have been boosted by excess liquidity," he added. "Any changes to that will be a hot topic."

Elsewhere, India's Sensex briefly hit a record high before paring those gains. Indian shares have been one of the best performers among emerging-market peers this year due to strong foreign and domestic inflows.

Markets were still closed Tuesday in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. They will remain dark in Europe as well, while the U.S. and some other markets in the Americas will open for the first time this week. S&P 500 futures were recently flat.

The dollar was little changed Tuesday after scant moves Monday. But 10-year Japanese government bond yields moved back up some, rising to 0.045% from 0.035%.

And bitcoin rallied Tuesday afternoon in Asia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-on-the-rebound-futures-prices-also-above-15000-2017-12-26), rising to $15,300 from $14,000, according to CoinDesk.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 26, 2017 05:15 ET (10:15 GMT)