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Japanese Stocks Close 21-Year High as Asian Markets Rise

By Investors Hub

Most Asian stocks rose on Wednesday as higher commodity prices and better-than-expected data from Japan and Australia boosted investor optimism about global growth. Traders also breathed a sigh of relief after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont refrained from making a formal declaration of the region’s independence on Tuesday.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 6.06 points or 0.2 percent to 3,389,05, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 101.26 points or 0.4 percent to 28,389.57. China is on track to meet its growth target of around 6.5 percent this year and could well exceed it, the head of the Statistics Bureau said on Tuesday.

Japanese shares closed at their highest level in 21 years, with exporters and defensive stocks leading the surge after data showed Japan’s core machinery orders rose for a second straight month in August.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 57.76 points or 0.3 percent to 20,881.27, its highest level since December of 1996, while the broader Topix index closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,696.81, its highest level in a decade.

Kobe Steel shares plummeted 18 percent to extend losses for the second straight session after a shocking revelation that it had falsified data about the strength and durability of some aluminum and copper products shipped to about 200 companies.

Australian shares ended near a one-month high, led by financials as the Aussie dollar pushed higher after a strong reading on consumer confidence. The headline index jumped 3.6 percent to a score of 101.4 in October after a 2.5 percent increase in September, the latest survey from Westpac Bank revealed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 34 points or 0.6 percent to 5,772.10, and the broader All Ordinaries Index finished up 33.70 points or 0.6 percent at 5,840.80. Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent.

Woodside Petroleum and Beach Energy rallied 1-2 percent after oil prices surged about 2 percent on Tuesday amid signs that markets are gradually tightening after years of oversupply.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto declined around half a percent, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group lost 1.8 percent. BlueScope Steel edged down 0.3 percent despite the company reiterating its first-half earnings outlook.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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