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Asia stocks inch higher amid US tax reform hopes

Asia stocks inch higher amid US tax reform hopes

Asian shares inched up on Monday in morning session, tracking Wall Street, after a Republican agreement on the shape of US tax cuts aimed at boosting growth in the world’s largest economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.18%. Korea's Kospi came under slight pressure, trading 0.04% under the flat line. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.66%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.58%, while mainland indexes were mostly subdued. The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.12% and the Shenzhen Composite shed 0.26%.

In Tokyo, trading houses and banks led the gains, with Tech and automaker blue-chips also seeing gains. Toyota rose 2.5%, Sony gained 2.18% and SoftBank climbed 1.2%.

In economic news, Japan's November exports added 16.2% on year, marking the twelfth straight month that exports have gained, according to Reuters.

In Korea, steelmakers traded lower, with Posco and Hyundai Steel down 1.5% and 3.34%, respectively, even though Samsung Electronics inched higher by 0.71%. Automakers were little changed despite news of an ongoing union dispute, with Hyundai Motor trading flat in the morning.

In Australia, resource stocks led the gains. Rio Tinto climbed 0.95% and Fortescue Metals added 0.93%. Banking shares were also higher, with ANZ rising 1.98% after the bank announced it would buy back up to A$1.5 billion ($1.15 billion) shares on-market.

In commodities, oil prices were slightly firm with US light crude up 10 cents at $57.40 while Brent crude inched 7 cents higher to $63.30. Spot gold ticked lower to $1,253.36.


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