Dollar Gains, Most Asian Markets Soar

Most Asian markets closed higher on Tuesday as the dollar nursed overnight losses. Greater China markets, which had slid in the last session, edged higher.

The Nikkei 225 average in Japan piled on 236.93 points, or 1%, to 23,951.81, as the dollar edged up against the yen. The index touched its highest levels in 26 years earlier in the session.

Tech names closed the session mostly higher, with Sony and Panasonic closing higher by 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively.

Subaru advanced 2.6% by the end of the day, outperforming its peers. The company said it expected sales stateside to increase by 5% this year to 680,000 vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Other Japanese automakers were mostly higher: Toyota added 1.1% and Honda tacked on 0.2%.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong ballooned 565.88 points, or 1.8%, to 31,904.75.

Ahead of the market close in Hong Kong, index heavyweights Tencent and HSBC were up 2.1% and 0.5%, respectively, as financials, casinos and energy-related plays notched gains.

In Korea, index heavyweight Samsung Electronics finished the session 3% higher after selling off last week on poorer-than-expected profit guidance. Rival chipmaker SK Hynix also recorded gains, climbing 2.4% by the end of the day.

Share of Hyundai Motor closed up 1.9% after news this morning that union members at the automaker had come to an agreement on wages. Brokerages and manufacturing names, however, traded lower on the day.

Down Under, markets slipped as the energy, utilities and telecommunications sectors led losses on the broader index. The heavily-weighted financials sector declined 0.5%.

Rio Tinto shares declined 0.7% by the end of the day, paring earlier gains made after it reported fourth-quarter production figures. The company said 2017 iron ore shipments rose 1% and were in line with guidance. Fourth-quarter iron ore shipments rose 3% compared to the same period one year ago.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 33.23 points, or 0.8%, to 4,258.47. Financials were among the best-performing sectors on the blue-chip index, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China closing up 2.3%.

Despite the broader move higher, airline stocks suffered steep losses, with Air China falling 3.7% and China Eastern Airlines losing 2.4% by the end of the session.

The People's Bank of China earlier fixed the official midpoint at 6.4372 a dollar, the highest reference point in more than two years. China's central bank allows the yuan to move 2% higher or lower against the dollar, relative to the fixing rate.

In other markets

The Kospi in Korea added 18.01 points, or 0.7%, to 2,521.74

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index grew 29.8 points, or 0.3%, to 10,986.11

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 13.8 points, or 0.4%, to 3,550.21

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 progressed 39.17 points, or 0.5%, to 8,250.54

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 28.44 points, or 0.5%, to 6,048.64