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Chinese, Japanese, Australian Shares Record Gains

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks followed their U.S. peers higher on Friday as news of robust U.S. economic growth and remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank’s gradual interest rate increases are helping sustain the economic expansion bolstered investor optimism about the world’s largest economy.

Chinese stocks rose to post their second consecutive weekly gain amid expectations for stimulus and on hopes that more Chinese shares will be included in mainstream global benchmarks.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 29.58 points or 1.1 percent to 2,821.35, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 72.85 points or 0.3 percent to 27,788.52.

Japanese shares moved notably higher, with export-oriented stocks surging as the dollar hit a nine-month high versus the yen after the release of upbeat U.S. data.

The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 323.30 points or 1.4 percent to 24,120.04, a tad below its highest level in 27 years on hopes for continued corporate earnings growth. The broader Topix Index closed 1 percent higher at 1,817.25.

Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, Mazda Motor and Toyota Motor all rose around 1 percent amid indications the U.S. will not impose additional tariffs on the Japanese auto sector.

Electronics maker Sony jumped 4.5 percent, and SoftBank Group rallied 4.7 percent after launching a taxi-hailing service using a smartphone app developed by Chinese ride-share firm Didi Chuxing Technology.

On the data front, Japanese industrial output rose in August for the first time in four months, government data showed. The value of retail sales grew 0.9 percent sequentially in the month and the unemployment rate fell to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent, while consumer prices in the region rose an annual 1.3 percent in September, a slew of reports showed.

Australian stocks also moved to the upside after news of robust U.S. economic growth. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index rose 26.40 points or 0.4 percent to 6,207.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 26.20 points or 0.4 percent at 6,325.50.

Lender Westpac advanced 1.2 percent despite cutting its earnings forecast. The other three banks climbed 1-2 percent after the release of an interim report from the Royal Commission.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto ended on a mixed note, while energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos fell between 0.2 percent and 1 percent.

Investment bank Macquarie Group dropped 1.3 percent. The company?s chief executive Nicholas Moore and his successor, Shemara Wikramanayake, are expected to be interviewed by German police over the bank’s alleged role in a share-trading case.

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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