Among the former, China Mobile is up 0.2%, PCCW is up 0.3%, and China Unicom is up 0.6%. (China Telecom has lost its opening gain, however, and is currently flat.) The mainland China players (all of the above names except for PCCW) seem to be shrugging off news that the government may soon impose a new value-added tax on their services, though this will replace an existing business tax, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And hopes for upcoming reforms to free up the energy sector appear to be helping PetroChina to a 1% gain in Hong Kong, not to mention a 0.3% advance for its shares in Shanghai after a 1.4% loss the day before.
Tencent is also on the march, with the Internet major’s shares up 1.9% to extend yesterday’s gains, helped by words of support for China’s nascent e-finance industry, in which Tencent is already a player.
But perhaps the best Hong Kong stock is have today is China Renewable Energy, which is up more than 14% after saying it should swing to a profit this fiscal year.
On the downside, Standard Chartered is 1.6% lower after its fiscal-year earnings missed estimates. International banking rival HSBC is down 0.4%.
And after ending its first day of trade more than 5% higher, shares of Japan’s Fast Retailing are down 2.3%, mirroring profit-taking losses in Tokyo.
Over in Shanghai, the tone is more somber, or at least more bearish, with the Shanghai Composite currently down 0.8%. Reports are citing concern over China’s first high-profile bond default, seen as almost certain to occur on Friday
Earlier,the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2 percent to 137.85 in Tokyo. The 128.6 trillion yen ($1.26 trillion) Government Pension Investment Fund should seek yearly returns of 1.7 percent plus the rate of pay increases for workers, according to a draft report from the committee tasked with helping the health ministry decide on economic assumptions for investment targets.Japan’s Topix index rose 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5 percent, extending gains from a record high. Australia’s S&P Asx declined 0.1 percent, retreating from a 5 1/2-year high. The gauge pared losses of as much as 0.4 percent after retail sales in January beat estimates.