Japanese shares near eight-year high on GDP data

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 20 Mar 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
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Japan's stock market hit its highest level in nearly eight years after data showed the world's third-largest economy had come out of a recession.

Preliminary data showed the economy expanded at annualised pace of 2.2% in the fourth quarter after contracting in the previous two quarters.

However, the figure was well below market expectations of a 3.7% increase.

Despite this, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 0.5% at 18,004.77 - its highest finish since July 2007.

The dollar was at 118.53 yen, slightly down from 118.74 yen in New York trade on Friday.

Chinese markets also headed higher with the Shanghai Composite closing up 0.6% at 3,222.36, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.2% to end at 24,726.53.

Government data showed that China saw $13.9bn (£9bn) in foreign direct investment in January, up nearly 30% from a year ago.

In Australia, shares closed at near seven-year highs, boosted by gains for energy and mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2% at 5,888.7, just short of Friday's seven-year peak of 5,893.5.

Shares of Patties Food fell as much as 18% at one point after the company recalled its frozen berry products following a hepatitis A outbreak linked to poor hygiene and water supplies in a Chinese packaging plant. The firm's shares eventually recovered some of its earlier losses to close down 7.7%.

South Korean shares ended flat with the Kopsi at 1,958.23, with investors remaining cautious ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Tuesday.

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