China shares jump on economic stimulus hopes

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Shanghai Composite Index

Last Updated at 20 Oct 2017, 07:25 GMT SSE Composite twelve month chart
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3378.65 +

China's stock market jumped to its highest level since mid-2011 on Thursday as shares continued to rally on expectations of more economic stimulus measures from the government.

Fears of slowing growth in China were heightened by weak manufacturing data earlier this week.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 1.7% at 23,832.56, while the Shanghai Composite index rose by more than 4% to 2,899.46.

Financial and energy stocks led gains.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Bank Of China were up 3.2% and China Construction Bank rose 2.4%.

Nikkei at new high

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei index reached a fresh seven-year high as shares were boosted by the weaker yen and positive economic news from the US.

The Nikkei 225 closed up 0.9% at 17,887.21 points.

Japan's currency weakened further with the dollar trading at 119.92 yen in afternoon trade.

A weaker yen helps buoy investor sentiment and is good for Japan's exporters as it makes their goods cheaper to buy overseas.

US shares reached new highs on Wednesday after America's central bank said the US economy was growing.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.9% at 5,368.79 on better-than-expected retail sales data for October.

However, Bell Direct equities analyst Leeane Jones said she was not sure the market would see the Christmas rally that some people were expecting and that a lot still depended on commodity prices.

"If we see more pressure on commodities and oil, it may put the market under pressure," Ms Jones said.

Australia also reported trade numbers above forecasts on Thursday, with official figures showing the nation's deficit shrank in October to $1.3bn Australian dollars ($1.09bn), due to a boost in exports.

The positive data follows disappointing figures released on Wednesday which showed Australia's economy had expanded by 2.7% year-on-year, compared with expectations of 3.1% growth.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was up 0.85% at 1,986.61 points.

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