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Asian Shares Mixed After China Data

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Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mixed on Friday after a Senate vote on U.S. tax bill got delayed and a private survey showed that activity in China's vast manufacturing sector fell in November to the weakest pace in five months.

The dollar held steady against the Japanese yen and oil prices extended overnight gains after a decision by the world's biggest oil producers to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018, helping support underlying sentiment to some extent. Regional manufacturing surveys also painted a mostly positive picture.

Chinese stocks ended flat on concerns over slowing growth after the Caixin manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.8 in November from 51.0 in October, signaling a slight slowdown in economic activity. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.33 percent at 29,082 in late trade.

Japanese shares rose for a third day as the yen weakened against the greenback and investors digested mostly positive readings on manufacturing, inflation, private capital expenditure, household spending and unemployment.

The Nikkei average closed up 94 points or 0.41 percent at 22,819.03, taking its weekly gain to 1.2 percent. The broader Topix index closed 0.25 percent higher at 1,796.53.

Sharp Corp jumped almost 8 percent on news that its shares will return to the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Dec. 7. Toshiba gained 1.8 percent on a Bloomberg report that the Japanese conglomerate and Western Digital Corp are close to settling their legal dispute.

Australian shares eked out modest gains, led by financials and industrials on U.S. tax reform hopes. Positive manufacturing data also buoyed sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose by 19.90 points or 0.33 percent to 5,989.80 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 18.30 points or 0.30 percent at 6,075.50.

Lender ANZ gained 0.6 percent and Westpac rose 0.3 percent, shrugging off concerns surrounding a government inquiry into banking and financial sectors.

Billabong International soared 21.8 percent after the surfwear retailer received a confidential, non-binding merger proposal from Boardriders.

The uptick in oil prices helped lift energy stocks, with Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search rising 1-2 percent. Beach Energy shares jumped as much as 8.6 percent. Mining giant BHP Billiton rose over 1 percent and biotechnology firm CSL advanced 1.6 percent.

Seoul shares closed marginally lower as a slew of economic data on GDP, inflation, trade and manufacturing offered mixed signals.

New Zealand shares closed marginally higher despite dairy giant Fonterra cutting its earnings forecast in response to being ordered to pay French food giant Danone $183 million in damages over the 2013 botulism scare. Fonterra Shareholders Fund units rose by 0.6 percent to finish at $6.40.

New Zealand's terms of trade hit a new record in the September quarter as import prices fell more than export prices, Statistics New Zealand figures showed.

India's Sensex was marginally lower despite the release of positive GDP and manufacturing data. Singapore's Straits Times index was moving up 0.7 percent and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.4 percent.

Taiwan's manufacturing activity continued to expand in November, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed with a PMI score of 56.3, up from 53.6 in October.

Markets in Indonesia and Malaysia were closed in observance of the birth of the prophet Muhammad.

Overnight, U.S stocks hit fresh record closing highs as the Senate tax cut plan moved closer to passage and data on jobless claims, personal income and spending added to optimism about the economy.

The Dow jumped 1.4 percent to finish above 24,000 points for the first time, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.7 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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