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Asian Shares Recover from Early Weakness to Close Positive

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks recovered from early weakness to finish mostly higher on Thursday as the dollar inched up against the yen and oil eked out small gains after falling as much as 3 percent overnight on data showing a larger-than-expected increase in U.S. gasoline stocks.

Japanese shares rallied on bargain hunting as Moody’s Investors Service retained the sovereign ratings of the country with a stable outlook and the yen weakened against the dollar, bolstered by reports that the U.S. Congress is on track to approve legislation that would avert a partial government shutdown over the weekend.

The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 320.99 points or 1.5 percent to 22,498.03 after suffering its biggest drop since March the previous day. The broader Topix Index closed 1.2 percent higher at 1,786.25.

Advantest Corp jumped 1.8 percent after the chip company said it would strengthen its semiconductor parts business. Fanuc rose 1.3 percent while Tokyo Electron soared as much as 4.9 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing advanced 2.4 percent.

Australian shares rose to snap a three-session losing streak, with banking and oil stocks leading the surge. The day’s economic releases proved to be a mixed bag, as Australian construction activity expanded at the fastest pace in four months in November but the October trade surplus came in well below forecasts.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 32.02 points or 0.5 percent to finish at 5,977.72, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 30.90 points or 0.5 percent at 6,060.80.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 1.3 percent. Energy majors Santos and Origin Energy climbed around 1 percent each as oil rebounded in Asian trading after steep overnight losses.

Miners closed on a mixed note, with Rio Tinto rising 0.9 percent, while BHP Billion and Fortescue Metals Group ended in the red. Yowie Group soared 14.7 percent after the chocolate maker said it would further expand into the U.S.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks ended lower due to year-end profit taking by investors. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 21.91 points or 0.7 percent to 3,272.05, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 78.39 points or 0.3 percent to 28,303.19.

In a report released Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund said that more capital is justified for the largest banks in China because of their systemic importance and interconnectedness.

Increasing capital would enhance the resilience and credibility of the financial system, as well as reassure markets, the IMF said.

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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