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Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

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Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday, with some of the markets paring early gains, as investors digested details of U.S. President Donald Trump's long-awaited tax reform plan unveiled overnight. While the plan calls for a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, analysts have warned that huge tax cuts could expand the budget deficit.

The Australian market is rising after two straight days of losses, tracking the positive cues overnight from Wall Street.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 16.60 points or 0.29 percent to 5,680.90, off a high of 5,685.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 15.70 points or 0.27 percent to 5,741.20.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are lower. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are losing more than 1 percent each, while BHP Billiton is declining 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices fell overnight. Evolution Mining is down almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly declining despite higher crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum and Santos are down 0.6 percent each, while Oil Search is rising 0.3 percent.

Origin Energy has agreed to sell its conventional oil and gas exploration business Lattice Energy to Beach Energy for A$1.59 billion. Shares of Origin Energy are rising almost 2 percent, while Beach Energy shares are gaining more than 2 percent.

JustKapital said it has negotiated an improvement in the group's disbursement funding facility and a new short-term lending facility with AssetSecure. The company's shares are higher by 10 percent.

A2 Milk has received approval from China's regulatory body to continue selling its infant formula products in that country. Shares of A2Milk are up more than 2 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see August figures for job vacancies today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar slipped a little further against the U.S. dollar after Trump unveiled his tax reform plans. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7849, down from US$0.7856 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is advancing, with investor sentiment bolstered by a slightly weaker yen and the positive lead overnight from Wall Street.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 64.91 points or 0.32 percent to 20,331.96, off a high of 20,399.43 in early trades.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is rising 0.6 percent, Panasonic is up 0.5 percent and Canon is adding 0.4 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining 0.6 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is down 0.2 percent and Honda is edging lower by less than 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is advancing almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising 0.6 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex and Japan Petroleum Exploration are advancing more than 1 percent each.

Among the best performers, Tokai Carbon is rising more than 16 percent, Showa Denko is advancing more than 7 percent and FamilyMart UNY Holdings is higher by almost 5 percent.

On the flip side, Tokyo Electric Power is losing more than 2 percent, while Sumitomo Osaka Cement and Nippon Express are down 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 112 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Singapore are all edging higher. Shanghai, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand are down with modest losses.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday, partly due to a positive reaction to the release of a Republican tax reform plan that calls for a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.

Buying interest was also generated by a report from the Commerce Department showing a bigger than expected jump in durable goods orders in the month of August.

The Nasdaq jumped 73.10 points or 1.2 percent to 6,453.26, the Dow rose 56.39 points or 0.3 percent to 22,340.71 and the S&P 500 climbed 10.20 points or 0.4 percent to 2,507.04.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both advanced by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures continued to rise Wednesday, as U.S. oil inventories unexpectedly dwindled as refineries got back to work post-Hurricane Harvey. WTI crude added $0.26 or 0.5 percent to close at $52.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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