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Asian Shares Broadly Higher In Thin Holiday Trading

asian mixed2 22dec21 lt

Asian stocks were mostly higher on Thursday, though the upside remained limited ahead of the holiday season.

A South African study indicated lower risks of hospitalization and severe disease in people infected by the Omicron variant compared to Delta variant.

New studies of preliminary data from Scotland and Imperial College, London also showed that Omicron strain may be less likely to land patients in the hospital than the Delta strain.

Chinese shares were little changed with a positive bias while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.3 percent as concerns about inflation and Covid-19 eased.

Japan's Nikkei index gained 0.3 percent, extending gains for the third straight session, and the yen was little changed on optimism over global economic outlook.

Commodity-related shares advanced after the country raised its 2022 growth outlook.

Tokyu Fudosan Holdings shares jumped over 5 percent after the property developer agreed to sell its Tokyu Hands home interior store chain.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was also up 0.3 percent, with banks and energy stocks leading the surge. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell amid concerns about steel production in China.

South Korea's Kospi average was up 0.3 percent and New Zealand's NZX-50 index gained 0.4 percent, following strong U.S. consumer data released overnight.

The dollar languished near an almost one-week low against its major peers while oil traded flat after sharp gains overnight amid signs that the U.S. and U.K. were not headed for widespread lockdowns as previously feared.

U.S. stocks advanced overnight as Omicron fears subsided and the latest data on consumer confidence, home sales and revised third-quarter economic growth painted a positive picture of the world's largest economy.

Meanwhile, the White House said it was resuming talks on a major social spending bill with a senator crucial to passing the legislation.

The Dow rose 0.7 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.2 percent and the S&P 500 added 1 percent.

European stocks rose on Wednesday as a slew of U.S. economic data topped forecasts and the British government pledged £1 billion ($1.3 billion) to businesses hit by the new Covid-19 variant.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.9 percent. The German DAX gained 1 percent, France's CAC 40 index rallied 1.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.6 percent.

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