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Asian Equities Soar as Australian Stocks Eke out Modest Gains

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday after the latest FOMC minutes showed Fed officials expressing some caution over the timing of future interest rate increases.

Chinese shares ended little changed ahead of the Communist Party Congress starting next week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 69.46 points or 0.2 percent to 28,459.03.

Japanese shares closed at a more than two-decade high as polls suggesting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is heading for a two-thirds majority in the forthcoming election helped offset concerns over a firmer yen.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 73.45 points or 0.4 percent to finish at 20,954.72, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,700.13.

Kobe Steel shares closed half a percent higher on bargain hunting after losing over 35 percent this week on data fabrication news. Toshiba rallied 3.8 percent after announcing an additional investment of 110 billion yen to expand flash memory production at its Yokkaichi plant.

Australian shares eked out modest gains, driven by banks after home loan data beat estimates. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 22.40 points or 0.4 percent to 5,794.50, and the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 23.30 points or 0.4 percent higher at 5,864.10.

Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between half a percent and 0.9 percent. Bank of Queensland rallied 1.2 percent as it announced a surprise special dividend after posting impressive earnings numbers.

Energy stocks also closed mostly higher after crude oil prices rose for a third straight session overnight. Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Santos climbed 1-2 percent.

Bellamy’s Australia soared as much as 4.6 percent after the infant formula maker raised its outlook for full-year revenue growth.

Meanwhile, miners BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto lost 1-2 percent after iron ore prices sank on concerns over falling demand during the winter amid impending steel output cuts in China. Whitehaven Coal tumbled 2.8 percent after unveiling its production and sales figures for the September quarter.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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