ASIA MARKETS: Tencent Earnings Buoy Hong Kong Index; Nikkei Looks To Snap Loss Streak

By Kenan MachadoFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Australia's Santos surges on takeover bid

Global stock markets stabilized somewhat in Asia on Thursday, following broad weakness since the end of last week, with shares in Japan gaining after six straight sessions in the red.

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The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.6%, recovering from Wednesday's 1.6% decline, though the index was still off 3.5% since closing at a 25-year high on Tuesday last week.

The Nikkei's gains come despite a stronger yen, with the dollar last at Yen112.92, compared with Yen113.21 at Tokyo's stock market close on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the region, however, shares were little changed, following broad overnight declines in the U.S., with the S&P 500 declining 0.6%, its biggest drop since early September.

"There is probably a bit of caution in [Asian] markets" ahead of the vote on U.S. tax reform, said Paul M. Kitney, chief equity strategist for Asia Pacific at Daiwa Capital.

If the bill doesn't come through by the end of the year, it would be negative for the U.S. dollar, he said, and could hurt the earnings of Japanese companies as well as global markets.

Korea's Kospi was down 0.1%, while Singapore's Straits Times Index and Taiwan's Taiex were both up 0.2%.

Hong Kong shares opened higher, lifted by a 2.4% rise in technology heavyweight Tencent (0700.HK) , which late Wednesday reported a nearly 70% jump in third-quarter net profit, beating expectations, thanks to continued demand for its online games. The Hang Seng Index was last up 0.6%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was flat in morning trade following softer-than-expected October job growth. If the index carried through the session without a loss, it would end the longest losing streak since May 5, when the market fell for four straight trading days.

Among the outperformers, Santos (SSLTY) surged 12% as investors bet that rival Harbour Energy's interest in a takeover of the Australian oil-and-gas company hasn't cooled.

Santos said it knocked back an offer worth 4.55 Australian dollars (US$3.45) a share in August, and wasn't currently in talks with Harbour. However, the Australian Financial Review reported that Harbour was readying a new bid of around A$5.30 a share in cash.

In Japan, shares of Nintendo (7974.TO) rose 1.3% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese videogame giant was in talks with a Hollywood studio to make an animated "Super Mario Bros." movie based on the iconic videogame series.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2017 22:27 ET (03:27 GMT)