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Asian Shares Recover From Early Losses

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Asian stocks recovered from early falls to finish on a steady note Thursday as the dollar inched up against the yen and oil eked out small gains after falling as much as 3 percent overnight on data showing a larger-than-expected increase in U.S. gasoline stocks.

Chinese stocks ended lower due to year-end profit booking by investors. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 21.91 points or 0.67 percent to
3,272.05, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.28 percent at 28,303 in late trade.

In a report released Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund said that more capital is justified for the largest banks in China because of their systemic importance and interconnectedness. Increasing capital would enhance the resilience and credibility of the financial system, as well as reassure markets, it said.

Japanese shares rallied on bargain hunting as Moody's Investors Service retained the sovereign ratings of the country with 'stable' outlook and the yen weakened against the dollar, bolstered by reports that the U.S. Congress is on track to approve legislation that would avert a partial government shutdown over the weekend.

The Nikkei average finished up 320.99 points or 1.45 percent at 22,498.03 after suffering its biggest fall since March the previous day. The broader Topix index closed 1.18 percent higher at 1,786.25.

Advantest Corp jumped 1.8 percent after the chip company said it would strengthen its semiconductor parts business. Fanuc rose 1.3 percent while Tokyo Electron soared as much as 4.9 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing advanced 2.4 percent.

Australian shares rose to snap a three-session losing streak, with banking and oil stocks leading the surge. The day's economic releases proved to be a mixed bag, with Australia's construction activity expanding at the fastest pace in four months in November, while October trade surplus came in well below forecasts.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 32 points or 0.54 percent to finish at 5,977.70 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 30.90 points or 0.51 percent at 6,060.80.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 1.3 percent. Energy majors Santos and Origin Energy climbed around 1 percent each as oil rebounded in Asian trading after steep overnight losses.

Miners closed on a mixed note, with Rio Tinto rising 0.9 percent, while BHP Billion and Fortescue Metals Group ended in the red. Yowie Group soared 14.7 percent after the chocolate maker said it would further expand into the U.S.

Seoul shares hit two-month lows amid selling by foreign investors on concerns over rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East following U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The benchmark Kospi fell 12.39 points or 0.50 percent to 2,461.98.

New Zealand shares rose on bargain hunting after three straight sessions of losses. The benchmark S&P/NZX50 index climbed 41.74 points or 0.51 percent to 8,172.60, with Fletcher Building and Spark New Zealand rising around 3 percent each.

Residential property prices in New Zealand climbed 6.4 percent year-over-year in November, faster than the 3.9 percent rise in October, data published by the Quotable Value showed.

India's Sensex was rising 0.6 percent and Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.2 percent, while benchmark indexes in Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan were down between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed as oil prices plunged and investors fretted about the possibility of violence in the Middle East. Traders largely ignored strong ADP private payrolls data.

The Dow slid 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 edged down marginally to register its fourth straight session loss while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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