Asia Markets Rise on Strength From Chip Stocks

By Kenan MachadoFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Asian stocks started the week higher as a steady U.S. dollar helped to calm investor concerns.

Last week, the dollar slid to a series of three-year lows, following comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that were interpreted as being accepting of a weaker dollar.

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The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index rose 0.1% in Asian trading after logging its seventh-straight weekly drop, the longest streak since 2010.

Meanwhile, semiconductor stocks were stronger in Asia, building on Friday gains that were fueled by U.S. giant Intel's stock surge after its fourth-quarter report. Intel reported record quarterly revenue, helped by strength in data-center demand.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing rose 1.8% while South Korean peers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rose 1.2%. Korea's Kospi was the region's leading index early by rising 1%--hitting fresh record highs--while Taiwan's Taiex rose 0.6%.

"Intel's earnings and guidance should give some momentum into Korea tech, which is seeing a resurgence," said S.K. Kim, an analyst at Daiwa Capital in Seoul.

The Kospi is up 5.5% this month and it could gain a further 3% by the end of February as concerns about the tech sector's resilience and policy changes by the government recede, said Hyein Ok, a strategist at Samsung Securities.

In Japan, semiconductor-equipment maker Samco jumped 4.3% and Tokyo Electron rose 2%. The Nikkei rebounded 0.5% even as the dollar was recently around Yen108.80, compared with Yen109.37 at the Friday close of equity trading in Tokyo.

Indexes in Hong Kong and Singapore were also up about 0.5%.

Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau was recently down about 4%. Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that Wynn Resorts employees and others interviewed described a CEO who sexualized his workplace and pressured workers to perform sex acts. Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn responded: "The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous."

Meanwhile, U.S. oil futures rose 0.4% in Asian trading, hitting fresh three-year highs, though natural gas fell 4%.

Write to Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 28, 2018 21:06 ET (02:06 GMT)