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Asian Shares Rise As China Data Signals Economic Rebound


Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday as the U.S. and Japan kicked off their first round of trade talks in Washington aimed at creating a bilateral trade framework.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in an interview with CNBC that "some sort of protectionism" around global trade is the biggest threat to global economic growth.

Chinese shares hit their highest level in nearly 13 months after data showed housing prices in 70 major Chinese cities increased an average of 10.6 percent year-on-year in March, signaling an economic rebound.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged up 75.81 points or 2.4 percent to 3,253.60, marking the biggest single-day gain for the index in more than two weeks and the highest closing level since March 22, 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 319.15 points or 1.1 percent to 30,129.87.

Japanese shares hit a fresh four-month high as the yen held close to 2019 lows against the dollar and NTT Docomo Inc. announced its new mobile phone charge plans.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 52.55 points or 0.2 percent to 22,221.66, while the broader Topix ended marginally lower at 1,626.46.

NTT Docomo jumped 3.6 percent after it announced smaller-than-feared price cuts. KDDI Corp. soared 5.9 percent and SoftBank Corp. added 1.3 percent on hopes that lower fees will help stimulate consumer spending.

Australian stocks ended modestly higher, with gold miners and financials pacing the gainers. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 26.00 points or 0.4 percent to 6,277.40, while the All Ordinaries Index ended up 24.40 points or 0.4 percent at 6,372.30.

Rio Tinto gained half a percent despite the mining giant cutting its full-year iron ore guidance. Rival BHP shed 0.4 percent ahead of its quarterly production report on Wednesday, while Fortescue Metals Group declined 0.6 percent.

Energy stocks such as Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum fell between 0.4 and 0.9 percent as oil extended losses on fears about oversupply after a Russian minister said the nation and OPEC might boost crude output to fight the United States for market share. Beach Energy dropped 1.4 percent.

The big four banks rose between 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent despite underwhelming earnings from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Gold miners surged after three days of losses. Newcrest climbed 1.9 percent and Northern Star advanced 0.6 percent.

Lynas Corp., which is fending off a takeover bid from conglomerate Wesfarmers, gained 1 percent after it reported a more than 32 percent increase in production of rare earths oxides during the March quarter.

Vitamin maker Blackmores lost 1.6 percent after its profit for the first nine months of the year declined 14 percent amid softening demand from China.

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's April 2nd policy meeting showed that there is no strong case for a near-term move in interest rates.

Seoul stocks closed higher for the higher for 13th consecutive session as foreign investors lapped up large-cap shares amid easing worries of a significant slowdown in global growth. The benchmark Kospi inched up 5.75 points or 0.3 percent to 2,248.63.

Shares of Asiana Airlines jumped 16.1 percent after climbing as much as 30 percent the previous day. SK Networks jumped 7.5 percent on news that its parent group could possibly take over Asiana Airlines.

New Zealand shares rose for a fourth straight session, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending the session up 62.04 points or 0.6 percent at 9,908.39.

Dairy firms continued to surge, with a2 Milk rising 2.6 percent, adding to the 4.2 percent gain the previous day. On the other hand, Restaurant Brands New Zealand plunged 5 percent after it decided not pay a final dividend.

Overnight, the major U.S. averages all ended down around 0.1 percent as disappointing results from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. weighed on the banking sector.

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