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Asian Shares Pare Early Gains To End Mixed

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Asian stocks pared early gains to end mixed on Thursday as optimism over U.S. President Donald Trump's tax reforms faded and tensions continued to flare in the Middle East.

The yen was a little weaker and oil held steady after overnight losses while strong inflation data out of China underscored the resilience of the world's second-largest economy.

Chinese shares ended at a fresh two-year high as encouraging inflation data pointed to a pickup in global demand. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 12.33 points or 0.36 percent to 3,427.79 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.79 percent at 29,136 in late trade.

China's inflation climbed at the fastest pace in nine months in October and producer price inflation exceeded expectations as measures taken to curb pollution raised commodity prices.

Consumer price inflation rose to 1.9 percent in October from 1.6 percent in September, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. This was the highest rate since January, when inflation was 2.5 percent.

Producer price inflation held steady at 6.9 percent in October, while it was forecast to ease to 6.6 percent.

Japanese stocks gave up strong early gains to end lower as caution crept in ahead of Friday's option settlement. The Nikkei average topped 23,000 earlier in the day for the first time since January 1992 before reversing direction to end down 0.20 percent at 22,868.71. The broader Topix index notched a 26-year high before closing 0.25 percent lower at 1,813.11.

Pasona Group shares jumped over 10 percent after the release of a reform proposal from a Hong Kong-based fund, while Japan Display plunged 10.4 percent and Nissan Motor lost 2 percent on earnings disappointment.

Investors looked past official data, which showed that Japan's core machinery orders tumbled at their fastest pace in more than two years in September.

Australian shares rose notably to close near 10-year high. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index and the broader All Ordinaries index both climbed about 0.55 percent to finish at 6,049.40 and 6,122.40, respectively.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose about half a percent each after iron ore futures in Dalian surged nearly 2 percent.

NAB tumbled 3.4 percent on going ex-dividend while the other three banks rose between 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent.

Building materials supplier James Hardie Industries soared 7.6 percent after an acquisition announcement. Property group Goodman Group advanced 2.6 percent after reiterating its full-year 2018 operating earnings outlook.

Santos fell 2.7 percent after the oil and gas producer forecast a significant fall in sales volume for the year ahead.

Seoul stocks ended largely unchanged as investors weighed potential delays to U.S. President Donald Trump's tax reform plan. The benchmark Kospi closed 0.1 percent lower at 2,550.57.

Tech stocks ended mixed, with Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix closing down less than 1 percent each while LG Electronics jumped 3.9 percent and LG Display climbed 2.6 percent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index dropped 19.33 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 8,021.09 after the country's central bank held its official cash rate at the record low of 1.75 percent for the seventh straight meeting and signaled an earlier rise in interest rates.

Accounting software firm Xero dropped 1.9 percent after announcing its decision to delist from the New Zealand stock market.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.2 percent even as a government report showed the country's industrial output growth eased at a faster-than-expected pace in September.

Benchmark indexes in India, Indonesia and Singapore were marginally lower while the Taiwan Weighted shed 0.7 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed mostly higher even as banks extended losses on tax reform worries after Republicans lost key elections in New Jersey and Virginia. The Dow inched up marginally, the S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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