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Asian Markets End Mostly Higher


Asian markets mostly ended on the positive side on Thursday, although buying interest was a bit subdued in most of the markets in the region.

Almost all the markets in the region started off on a firm note, but failed to sustain at higher levels. Volume of business was thin as investors chose to stay on the sidelines ahead of the weekend and New Year Day holiday.

In the Australian market, energy, mining, and telecom stocks edged higher and lifted the benchmark indices S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries to a positive close.

The S&P/ASX 200 edged up 18.20 points or 0.3 percent to 6088.10. The All Ordinaries index gained 19.70 points or 0.32 percent to 6189.40.

Greencross Limited shares jumped nearly 5 percent. Breville Group and Speedcast International also rose sharply.

APA Group and Retail Food Group shed 2.8 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

China's Shanghai Composite Index also climbed 21.42 points or 0.7 percent to 3,297.21, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 266.05 points or 0.9 percent to 29,863.71.

Despite some fairly encouraging economic data, the Japanese market ended lower, with machinery, banking and warehouses stocks registering notable losses. A stronger yen and a lack of positive catalysts dragged stock prices down.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended down 127.23 points or 0.6 percent at 22,783.98. Out of the 225 stocks in the index, only 30 managed to close on a positive note. About 20 stocks ended flat and the rest closed in negative territory.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Shizuoka Bank, Shinsei Bank, Chiba Bank, and Aozora Bank ended notably lower.

Nippon Sheet Glass and Nippon Suisan Kaisha both shed nearly 3.5 percent. Fukuoka Financial, Keio Corp., GS Yuasa Corp., Tokyo Tatemono, Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K, Nomura and Resona Holdings declined by 1 to 2.5 percent.

Sumitomo Metal Mining, Kobe Steel, Pacific Metals, Nisshin Steel Holdings, Mitsui Engineering, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Chubu Electric Power, and The Kansai Electric Power gained 1 to 2.7 percent.

Yahoo Japan, Hitachi Zosen, Yamaha Corp., Eisai, and Chiyoda Corp. posted modest gains.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea ended notably higher, with the KOSPI rising about 1.3 percent. Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore ended modestly higher, while Indonesia closed flat.

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