Asian shares rally to hit new highs

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 06 Apr 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
value change %
21567.52 -

Most Asian markets hit high new highs, taking a positive lead from Wall Street ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting.

Investors bet that downbeat data on US manufacturing, industrial output and housing released on Monday would lead the central bank to be cautious in its plans to raise interest rates.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 1% at 19,437 after hitting a new 15-year high of 19,479.89.

Shares in carmaker Toyota helped to boost the market, rising 0.7%.

The dollar was at 121.36 yen, little unchanged from 121.35 yen in New York overnight.

Mainland shares jump

Chinese shares continued to climb after closing at a five-year high on Monday.

The Shanghai Composite closed up 1.55% at 3,502.85 - its highest close since mid-2008.

Shares in China Railway Construction jumped 5.6% and China Railway Group gained 5.1% after local media reported that the state-backed firms were planning to merge to eliminate competition.

However, after a three-day rally, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index bucked the regional trend to close down 0.20% at 23,901.49.

Australian shares closed higher, with investors encouraged after minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia suggested another rate cut could be on the cards.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.8% at 5,842.1.

Shares of mining giant BHP Billiton rose 1.3% after it revealed more details about plans to spin off some of its assets into a new company called South32.

In South Korea, the Kospi index finished up 2.1% at 2,029.91 - its highest closing value since September.

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