Asia Markets: Asian markets log third day of losses, even as Tencent surges

Asian stock markets opened higher on Thursday following a rebound on Wall Street, but were headed for a third-straight day of broad declines by early afternoon. Indexes in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan fell.

Still, Japan’s Nikkei rebounded on the back of a still-soft yen, and New Zealand’s benchmark bounced following Wednesday’s slump.

Hong Kong’s HSI, -0.54%  stock market underwhelmed, dropping 0.5%, despite a rebound by index heavyweight Tencent Holdings Ltd. 0700, +3.74% The Chinese tech titan’s quarterly results, released Wednesday evening, beat expectations with a 61% increase in net profit. That leap was fueled by the strength of its mobile games and other digital content, along with a rapidly-growing mobile payments business and investment gains.

What’s happening

Tencent’s investors had hoped an overnight rally in the company’s American Depositary Receipts would carry over to would carry through to Hong Kong stocks broadly on Thursday, giving the Hang Seng Index a much-need boost.

Shares of Tencent—Asia’s most valuable company, with a market cap of $504 billion—jumped 3.7% to a five-week high. They also saw the biggest one-day percentage gain since August 2016.

Tencent and megabank HSBC Holdings PLC HSBC, +0.24%  are the two biggest components in the Hang Seng at nearly 10% each.

Market reaction

Many analysts on Thursday remained largely optimistic about Tencent’s growth outlook. Morgan Stanley expects the company to “sustain solid growth as it accelerates monetization in non-gaming business to offset the softening growth of its gaming business.”

Others have turned less bullish on their estimates. Both Jefferies and Bocom International trimmed their price targets for Tencent, citing the slower growth of online PC games as users shift to mobile products.

Elsewhere

New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.56% stock market benchmark reversed some of Wednesday’s 1.8% slide with a 0.6% rise. One of the market’s biggest companies, a2 Milk ATM, +4.16% rebounded 4.2% after a 14% plunge yesterday following a warning about its revenue outlook.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.54%   was treading water after giving up early gains. Tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. 0700, +3.74%   was last up 5% after surging 7% in early trading following a positive quarterly earnings report. Tencent on Wednesday reported a 61% increase in year-over-year net profit, thanks largely to strong performances from its mobile gaming and mobile payments businesses.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.46% retreated from early gains, closing down 0.5%, as Samsung Electronics 005930, -0.90%  fell 0.9.%

Chinese indexes in Shanghai SHCOMP, -0.48%   and Shenzhen 399106, -0.52%   fell around 0.5% each. Singapore’s Strait Times Index STI, +0.11%  inched up 0.1% and was in the green following three straight days of losses, and Malaysian stocks FTSE, +0.31%   were fell.

— Mike Murphy and Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report

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