Asia Gains as Dollar Slips

Asian markets closed higher on Monday, tracking gains seen on Wall Street as U.S. bond yields receded from recent four-year highs.

Meanwhile, the dollar slipped against a basket of currencies and investors awaited a testimony from the new Federal Reserve chair.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 leaped 260.85 points, or 0.7%, to finish the week’s first session at 22,153.63, after recording gains of more than 300 points earlier in the day.

The Hang Seng Index vaulted 231.43 points, or 0.7%, to 31,498.60

Technology stocks, financials and automakers traded higher on the day. Among index heavyweights, SoftBank Group jumped 1.7% and Fast Retailing rose 1.5% by the end of the day.

Against the yen, the U.S. dollar softened to trade at 106.51.

Large cap mainland property stocks listed in Hong Kong traded in negative territory following the weekend release of new home price data out of China: Sunac declined 3.2% China Evergrande lost 1% and Country Garden edged down 0.9%. Data had shown prices rose 5% in January compared to one year ago.

Still, the property sector traded higher by 1.7% on the whole ahead of the market close.

In individual stocks, Geely soared 7.1% in Hong Kong, following news last Friday that its chairman had accumulated a 9.7% stake worth $9 billion U.S. in German automaker Daimler.

In Korea, heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 0.3% by the end of the day after unveiling its new Galaxy S9 model on Sunday. Shares of chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 0.3%

Down Under, the heavily weighted financials sub-index rose 1.2%, making it the best-performing sector as all of Australia's "Big Four" banks closed the day with gains. Gains were also seen in the energy sector, which rose 0.8%

Elsewhere, Australia's BlueScope Steel rose 2.3% after the company reported first-half net profit after tax rose 23% to come in at 441.2 million Australian dollars ($345.8 million U.S.).

Shares of QBE Insurance Group closed down 3.3% after it posted a net loss of $1.25 billion U.S. for the year ending Dec. 31, below the $844 million profit seen one year ago. After taxes, cash loss for the year came in at $258 million U.S.


The CSI 300 gained 47.33 points, or 1.2%, to 4,118.42

The technology sector and telecommunication sectors were the best performers on the blue-chip index.

Meanwhile, the start-up board Chinext index popped 3.1% on the day. The rise came after weekend news that regulators had suggested postponing the date for policymakers to approve rules for registration-based initial public offering

Shares in mainland China with the word "emperor" in their names got a boost after the Communist Party moved to drop a two-term limit on the country's presidency. One of those stocks, Shenzhen Emperor Technology, closed up 7.4%

In other markets

The Kospi in Korea inched up 6.13 points, or 0.3%, to 2,457.63

In Taiwan, the Taiex index gained 42.15 points, or 0.4%, to 10,836.70

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index took on 22.63 points, or 0.6%, to 3,555.85

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 38.81 points, or 0.5%, to 8,340.53

The ASX 200 added 42.39 points, or 0.7%, to 6,042.15