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Asian Shares Rise On China Data

stockmarkets aug20 17jan20 lt

Asian stocks rose on Friday as investors cheered more signs of resilience in the world's second-largest economy.

Chinese GDP data came in line with expectations and there was growth in industrial output and retail sales, suggesting the world's second-biggest economy ended the year on a firmer note.

China's Shanghai Composite Index finished the day marginally higher at 3,075.50, giving up initial gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent to 29,056.42.

China's economy expanded at the slowest pace since 1990 as cooling domestic demand and property investment amid the trade war with the United States weighed heavily on growth last year.

In the whole year of 2019, gross domestic product grew 6.1 percent, which was well within the target of 6-6.5 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. China's growth for 2019 matched the projections of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Further, data showed that growth in industrial production unexpectedly accelerated to 6.9 percent in December from 6.2 percent in November. The rate was expected to ease to 5.9 percent.

Retail sales expanded 8 percent annually, as seen in November, and slightly faster than the expected rate of 7.9 percent.

In the year-to-date period, fixed asset investment was up 5.4 percent versus the expected rate of 5.2 percent.

Japanese shares hit a one-month high as a softer yen boosted exporters' shares. The Nikkei 225 Index hit a 15-month high before giving up some gains to end the session up 108.13 points, or 0.5 percent, at 24,041.26. The broader Topix closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,735.44.

Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Panasonic climbed 1-2 percent as the yen lingered near an eight-month low. Suzuki Motor shares jumped more than 4 percent and Mazda Motor soared 5.8 percent.

Nissan has accused former Chairman Carlos Ghosn of using company funds for private events abroad.

Nomura Holdings rose over 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group advanced 1.2 percent after Morgan Stanley reported a massive increase in fixed-income trading and raised its profit targets.

Australian markets hit record highs for the fourth day running. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 22.30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,064.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 21.70 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,180.30.

Mining stocks led the surge, with Rio Tinto climbing 1.8 percent after it forecast higher iron ore shipments for 2020. BHP, which unveils its second-quarter production figures next week, rallied 1.2 percent, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3.7 percent.

Crop protection firm Nufarm plunged 10 percent after releasing an update on its first half expectations.

Seoul stocks rose slightly as the Bank of Korea left its key interest rates unchanged, citing improvement in facilities investment and consumption growth. The benchmark Kospi inched up by 2.52 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,250.57.

New Zealand shares advanced, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index ending up 62.35 points, or 0.5 percent, at 11,800.21. Electricity stocks were among the prominent gainers, with Meridian Energy rising 2.3 percent and Mercury NZ adding 1 percent. Gentrack surged 3 percent after seeing substantial selling in the past two sessions.

The manufacturing sector in New Zealand fell into contraction in December, the latest survey from BuzinessNZ showed today, with a PMI score of 49.3, down from the downwardly revised 51.2 reading in November.

Singapore's Straits Times Index edged higher after the release of data showing a surprise rebound in exports. Non-oil domestic exports increased 2.4 percent year-on-year in December following a 5.9 percent slump in November, official data showed. Economists had expected a 2.0 percent drop.

U.S. stocks closed at new record highs overnight as the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal ended 18 months of uncertainty and a batch of largely upbeat data signaled a healthy economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent.

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