ASIA MARKETS: Stocks In Japan, Australia Outpace Lagging Asian Markets

Apple suppliers fall in Taiwan; New Zealand stocks rise after election

Asia-Pacific markets shrugged off weekend election results in Germany and New Zealand, as stocks in Australia and Japan rose on local drivers.

In Germany, incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel's party lost more seats than expected, including some to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, which became the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag since World War II. But Merkel will continue to lead the government.

"While Germany's leadership as a pillar of stability in Europe is sustained, the strong showing of the populist far-right and setbacks for the SPD are a surprise," said Michael Strobaek, global chief investment officer at Credit Suisse.

The euro was broadly down about 0.2% versus other major currencies.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's incumbent National Party came three seats short of an outright legislative majority, outperforming after polls suggested the result would be too close to call. The country's NZX 50 Index rose 0.4%, while the New Zealand dollar fell 0.8% against the U.S. dollar.

Japanese stocks, which have outperformed over the past two weeks thanks to a weaker yen, continued on that trend as the currency fell to Yen112.50 per dollar from Yen112 late Friday in New York. The Nikkei rose 0.5%, with exporters performing well.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2% on strength from big banks and mining companies. Financials were notably weak in South Korea, helping send the Kospi down 0.4%. Hana Financial Group (086790.SE) and KB Financial Group (KB) were each off about 3%.

In Taiwan, the Taiex was recently down about 0.9% after falling 1.2% on Friday. Wistron (3231.TW) , Compal Electronics (2324.TW) and Foxconn Technology (2354.TW) slid some 3%.

The island's stock market has been strong of late, due in part to optimism about Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) new handset offerings. But that positive sentiment has cooled since the smartphones were rolled out and shares of Apple's Taiwanese suppliers have fallen accordingly.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was recently down 0.8%. Highflying shares of Chinese developers pulled back, with China Evergrande Group (3333.HK) and Sunac China Holdings (1918.HK) dropping 4%. As many as seven tier-two cities launched fresh measures over the weekend aimed at cooling their housing markets.

Commodities started quietly in Asia, with oil and gold futures little changed from Friday's U.S. settlement levels.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 24, 2017 23:03 ET (03:03 GMT)