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Asian Stocks Mostly Higher After Chinese Data

Asian stocks were mostly higher on Thursday as the risk of a no-deal Brexit receded and modest U.S. inflation numbers further supported the case for the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising rates.

The upside, however, remained limited as investors digested a slew of mixed economic data from China.

China's industrial output grew at the slowest pace in 17 years at the start of 2019, suggesting further weakness in the world's second-largest economy. However, retail sales and fixed asset investment figures beat forecasts.

China's Shanghai Composite index was down 0.65 percent at 3,007.43 amid mixed economic readings and little signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was little changed with a positive bias as the National People's Congress wraps up with a speech on Friday from Premier Li Keqiang.

Japan's Nikkei index was rising 0.7 percent and the yen slid against the dollar ahead of BOJ monetary policy statement due on Friday.

Elsewhere, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, giving up early gains, while benchmark indexes in South Korea and New Zealand were marginally higher.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending higher as economic reports showed little inflation pressure and rising business investment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 climbed around 0.7 percent to reach their best closing levels in five and four months, respectively.

European markets also rose on Wednesday as investors kept a close eye on a no-deal Brexit vote.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.6 percent. The German DAX rose 0.4 percent, France's CAC 40 index advanced 0.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent.

After the U.K. Parliament voted against a no-deal Brexit by a narrow margin, the House of Commons is scheduled to meet again today to vote on whether to ask the EU to delay Brexit by up to three months.

Oil held near a four-month high in Asian trade as traders shifted focus to global production cuts and supply disruptions in Venezuela. The dollar edged back from a nine-day low while gold hit two-week high.

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