Stocks in Asia Climb as Markets Digest Earnings

Indexes in Asia closed on a positive note on Thursday as a slew of corporate earnings came through and as markets digested the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to leave interest rates unchanged.

The Nikkei 225 gained 29.48 points, or 0.2%, to 20,079.64

The Hang Seng Index leaped 190.15 points, or 0.7%, to 27,131.17. The index was buoyed by gains in several property developer stocks, with Evergrande shares higher by 10.1% late afternoon.

In corporate news, Samsung Electronics announced record quarterly profits of 14.1 trillion won ($12.68 billion U.S.) on Thursday. The amount was roughly in line with the company's own guidance of 14 trillion won and marked a 73% rise compared to the year before. Shares of the company finished down 0.1%

Other market movers included Japan's Nintendo, which announced better-than-expected earnings Wednesday. The consumer electronics firm reported operating profits of 16.21 billion yen ($144.95 million U.S.) compared to forecasts of 9.52 billion yen. Nintendo shares ended the session up 7.6%.

Singapore-listed commodity trader Noble Group saw its shares fall almost 50% after it issued a profit warning. The embattled company said on Wednesday that it was selling its U.S. power business to Mercuria. Noble shares were down 30.4% late Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation reported profits of 1.08 billion Singapore dollars ($796 million U.S.) for the second-quarter of the year, a rise of 22% compared to a year ago, and also higher than the S$988 million forecast compiled by Reuters. OCBC shares traded higher by 1.7%

Other corporate earnings are expected on Thursday include Japan's Nissan and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, and South Korea's LG Electronics.
Markets digested the Fed's widely expected decision to hold interest rates steady at the end the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day policy meeting Wednesday.

Against the Japanese currency, the U.S. dollar was mostly unchanged at 111.10 yen after drifting lower to touch 110.75 earlier in the day.

The Australian dollar edged up after the news to trade as high as $0.8065 U.S. compared to levels around $0.8015 seen just before. The currency, which stood at $0.8036 U.S. late afternoon local time, tends to be sensitive to economic data out of China. Additionally, overnight weakness in the dollar likely contributed to the Australian currency's gains.

CHINA

The CSI 300 recouped 6.80 points, or 0.2%, to 3,712.19

In economic news, China's statistics bureau reported that profits made by industrial companies in the country increased 19.1% on year.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex index recovered 89.26 points, or 0.9%, to 10,508.37

In Korea, the Kospi index picked up 8.73 points, or 0.4%, to 2,443.24

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 6.8 points, or 0.2%, to 3,354.71

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 poked ahead 1.13 points to 7,711.72

In Australia, the ASX 200 improved 8.39 points, or 0.2%, to 5,785.01