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Asian Shares Rise As Korea Tensions Ease

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Most Asian stocks rose on Monday amid improved risk appetite as fears about hurricane Irma have waned and North Korea refrained from launching more missiles at the weekend despite speculation that it would do so.

The dollar clawed back losses as the United Nations prepared to vote on a new round of sanctions against North Korea.

Gold retreated from a one-year high while oil edged higher after falling more than 3 percent on Friday.

Oil was helped by reports that the production cut deal that OPEC, Russia, and several other producers agreed to late last year could be extended beyond March 2018.

Chinese stocks closed on a steady note after August inflation data released over the weekend came in better than expected, mainly on account of higher material costs.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 11.18 points or 0.33 percent to 3,376.42 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up over 1 percent at 27,954 in late trade.

The offshore yuan declined after China's central bank reportedly scrapped reserve requirements on the trading of foreign-exchange forwards.

Japanese shares closed at their highest level in more than a week as the dollar recovered from a 10-month trough against the yen and data showed Japanese core machinery orders rose in July at the fastest pace since January 2016.

The Nikkei average jumped 270.95 points or 1.41 percent to 19,545.77, led by gains in recently battered automakers and financial stocks. The broader Topix index closed 1.17 percent higher at 1,612.26.

Honda Motor and Toyota Motor rose 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Nomura Holdings rallied 1-2 percent.

Ono Pharma climbed 2.3 percent after positive clinical trial results for its U.S. partner's anticancer drug.

Australian shares rose sharply as banks and energy stocks rallied, helping more than offset weakness in the mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 40.50 points or 0.71 percent to 5,713.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index finished 35.70 points or 0.62 percent higher at 5,775.10.

Commonwealth Bank rose 1.4 percent after recent steep losses on allegations of a breach in money laundering rules. The other three big banks closed up around 2 percent each. Investment bank Macquarie Group climbed as much as 3 percent after affirming its full-year earnings.

Weakness in iron ore and nickel prices pushed mining stocks lower, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, South32 and Fortescue Metals Group losing 1-2 percent. Gold miners Evolution, Newcrest, Northern Star and Regis Resources lost 2-3 percent.

Origin Energy gained 1.3 percent after it entered into a $190m deal with Benaris. Gambling operator Tabcorp Holdings advanced 2.7 percent on saying it expects to complete its A$11 billion merger with rival Tatts Group in November.

Seoul stocks rose on institutional buying in technology stocks as North Korean tensions eased somewhat. The benchmark Kospi inched up 15.36 points or 0.66 percent to 2,359.08, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics closing 1.5 percent higher at 2,490,000 won.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed little changed at 7,851.17 despite shares of both A2 Milk Company and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation hitting record highs.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite was up 0.1 percent after official data showed the country's industrial output growth accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace in July.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was moving up 0.3 percent, India's Sensex was rising 0.7 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.1 percent while the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.4 percent.

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Friday as investors pondered threats from North Korea and the economic impact of major storms like Harvey and Irma. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent while the Dow inched up 0.1 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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