Asian shares climb in thin trade

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 26 Feb 2018, 01:45 GMT Nikkei 225 three month chart
value change %
22132.25 +

Asian markets headed higher on Monday, although trading was thin at the start of a working week that will be shortened by the Christmas break.

Trading activity is likely to muted until the New Year with many investors away for the holidays.

In Japan, shares edged higher ahead of a public holiday on Tuesday.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 13.74 points at 17,635.14, while the dollar was at 119.46 yen compared with 119.43 yen in New York on Friday.

Shares of oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu jumped more than 27% after local media reported that it was in talks to be acquired by larger rival Idemitsu Kosan.

The deal could create Japan's second-largest firm in the domestic gasoline market.

Rest of Asia

Chinese shares ended the day higher, taking the lead from Wall Street where shares made big gains on Friday.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended up 291.94 points, or 1.3%, at 23,408.57, while the Shanghai Composite closed 18.85 points higher at 3,127.44.

Australian shares led the region's gains after rising 2.5% on Friday, which was its biggest one-day gain since July last year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up nearly 2% at 5,441.96, marking the fourth consecutive session of gains.

In South Korea, the market hit a two-week high despite news that the government had cut its growth forecasts for this year and 2015.

Officials said the economy would grow by 3.4% this year, down from 3.7% projected in July, while growth next year is predicted to be 3.8%, down from an earlier estimate of 4%.

The benchmark Kospi finished up 0.7% at 1,943.12 points.

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