Most of Asia Climbs on U.S. Tax Optimism

Major Asian indexes closed mostly higher on Tuesday after U.S. stocks finished the Monday session at record highs on optimism ahead of the passage of a key tax bill.

The Nikkei 225 tailed off 33.77 points, or 0.2%, to 22,868. Most automakers and retailers saw gains, with Mitsubishi Motor outperforming its peers in the auto sector and gaining 2.1%. Tech shares were mostly lower.

Other movers included several construction names involved in a probe into bid-rigging in a maglev project. Losses in Taisei Corp. steepened, with the company's shares closing down 6.3% on reports that its offices were raided by prosecutors on Tuesday. Kajima Corp. and Shimizu Corp. shares fell 5.2% and 2.8%, respectively, after the companies' offices were raided by authorities on Monday. Obayashi Corp. declined 1.3% by the end of the day.

Toyota on Monday announced it intends to offer an electrified version or option for all of its existing Toyota and Lexus models by around 2025. The automaker will begin selling more than 10 electric models from 2020, beginning in China before expanding to more markets. Toyota stock closed up 0.5%.

Against the yen, the U.S. dollar was steady at 112.53, near levels seen at the end of last week.

The Hang Seng Index powered up 203.25 points, or 0.7%, to 29,253.66, as gains in tech, financial and casino stocks offset losses seen in property names. Tencent was up 2% and insurers AIA and China Life Insurance rose 2% and 1.9%, respectively, at that time.

In Seoul, blue-chip tech names rose. Samsung Electronics tacked on 0.7% and SK Hynix jumped 3.9% on the day. South Korean steelmakers were mixed, with Posco rising 0.3% but Hyundai Steel slipping 0.5%

Meanwhile, automakers came under slight pressure, with Hyundai Motor edging down 0.7%. The move lower came on the back of ongoing labour union disputes at the company's plants, as well as concerns over potential changes in the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

The Korean government reportedly expects Washington to request reduced non-tariff barriers on U.S. car exports to South Korea, local newspaper Korea Joong Ang Daily said.

In Sydney, mining stocks buoyed the broader index following the move higher in base metals and iron ore in the last session: BHP closed up 0.8% and Mount Gibson Iron rose 6%. Gold miners also rose, with the sub-index climbing 2%


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 50.04 points, or 1.3%, to 4,035.33

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his national security strategy, which referred to Russia and China as "revisionist powers." It also noted that those countries were "determined to make economies less free and less fair."

Before the release of the document, China had said on Monday that its economic relations with the U.S. were "healthy" and mutually beneficial

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group plans to sell overseas commercial properties worth some $6 billion U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported. HNA, among some of China's most acquisitive companies in recent years, is now attempting to fundraise to pay off debt, the Journal said.

Hong Kong-listed HNA Holding was flat late afternoon local time while the company's Shanghai-listed Hainan Airline unit finished the session 1% higher.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 3.35 points, or 0.1%, to 2,478.53

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index pulled back 39.18 points, or 0.4%, to 10,467.34

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slumped 10.35 points, or 0.3%, to 3,404.47

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 restocked 57.05 points, or 0.7%, to 8,401.20

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 32.86 points, or 0.5%, to 6,071.79