Stocks in Asia touched a level not seen since December 2007 as a rally in Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies offset weakness in South Korea and Japan amid speculation of a Saturday missile launch by Pyongyang.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 161.81 as of 4:33 p.m. in Hong Kong, led by China Gas Holdings Ltd., which extended gains from a record yesterday after bullish growth forecasts. The Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index each rose 0.5 percent while South Korea’s Kospi gauge slipped 0.1 percent. The Topix closed 0.3 percent lower as the yen maintained gains against the dollar after hitting its strongest level since November.
The regional benchmark has climbed almost 20 percent this year amid a rebound in momentum in China, Asia’s largest economy, recouping most of its losses since the financial crisis. Driving the performance in 2017 are technology giants Tencent Holdings Ltd., Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
“While fundamentals are improving, Asia’s rally this year is a bit overheated and there may be a technical pullback ahead,” said Margaret Yang, a Singapore-based analyst at CMC Markets.
Korean automakers were among the biggest drags on the Asian benchmark Friday as Hyundai Wia Corp. plunged 7.1 percent to a four-month low and Hanon Systems slumped 3.5 percent, the most in a month. North Korea may test a missile this weekend to coincide with its “founding day” on Sept. 9.
Nikkei 225 -0.6%
Topix Has Worst Week Since April on N. Korea, Natural Disasters
Hang Seng Index +0.5%, Shanghai Composite Index little changed, Taiwan’s Taiex +0.7%
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China’s Export Engine Slows as Imports Maintain Steady Gains
Kospi 200 +0.2%
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Straits Times Index -0.1%, Jakarta Composite +0.5%, Thailand’s SET +0.6%, Philippines PSEi Index little changed, Vietnam VN Index +0.6%, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI -0.3%
Indonesia Bank Rally Imperiled by Sluggish Lending, Bad Loans
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India’s Sensex +0.1%, Nifty little changed
Sensex, Nifty 50 Little Changed After Erasing 0.3% Gain