Asia Mostly Rises with Semiconductors

Most major Asia Pacific stock markets closed higher on Thursday as semiconductor stocks in Japan and South Korea rose.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 46.98 points, or 0.2%, to 21,756.55, with shares of index heavyweight Softbank Group advancing 1.8%.

Meanwhile, shares of Japanese semiconductor test equipment manufacturer Advantest soared 20.2%.

It comes as Japan introduced export restrictions on high-tech materials to South Korea that are critical in the production of semiconductors.

Analysts have warned that if it remains unresolved, there could be serious consequences to the global semiconductor industry.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.08 against the U.S. dollar after seeing highs around 108.0 in the previous session

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index added 70.26 points, or 0.3%, to 28,594.30, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent jumping 1.9%.

In South Korea, however, the Kospi slipped as shares of LG Chem plunged 5%.

Shares of South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix jumped 2.06% on Thursday after the company announced a reduction in chip output.

Tumbling memory chip prices led to a 89% year-on-year plunge in SK Hynix’s operating profit for the reporting period, which came in at approximately 638 billion Korean won ($541.9 million U.S.), missing analysts’ expectations.

Shares of rival Samsung Electronics, an industry heavyweight, also gained 1.72%.

The company also said Thursday its Galaxy Fold phone is set to launch in September, following an earlier delay after multiple tech reviewers reported that the device broke easily. Samsung is set to formally announce earnings on July 31.

Australia closed higher, with most sectors advancing.

In an earlier speech, Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said "it is reasonable to expect an extended period of low interest rates." The Australian central bank has slashed interest rates for two months in a row, bringing it to a record low.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6967, slipping from levels above $0.699 yesterday.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 picked up 31.24 points, or 0.8%, to 3,851.07

In Korea, the Kospi index lost 7.82 points, or 0.4%, to 2,074.48

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 12.82 points, or 0.4%, to 3,381.26

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index recovered 5.65 points, or 0.1%, to 10,941.41

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 restocked 85.74 points, or 0.8%, to 10,898.28

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 41.35 points, or 0.6%, to 6,818.03