Asia shares up on positive US economic data

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 19 Sep 2017, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 twelve month chart
value change %
20299.38 +

Asian shares mostly rose after upbeat US economic data showed strength in the world's largest economy.

US weekly jobless claims fell, factory activity in its mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades and existing home sales strengthened.

Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.3% at 17,357.51 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament in preparation for an election.

However, the index was 0.8% lower for the week.

In the currency markets, the yen strengthened after Japan's Finance Minister, Taro Aso, said the recent weakening in the currency had been "too rapid".

The dollar was trading at 117.35 yen, after having hit a seven-year peak of 118.98 on Thursday.

In Greater China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.4% higher at 23,437.12, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.4% to 2,486.79 points.

In Australia, shares closed at a five-week low on concerns over slumping iron ore prices and future demand.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.2% lower at 5,306.8 - its lowest since 17 October. The benchmark has now fallen for five consecutive sessions.

South Korean shares closed higher after data showed that exports rose 3.6% in November compared with a year ago, while imports fell 3.1% in the same period. The benchmark Kospi was up 0.4% at 1,964.84.

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