Chinese shares rally on stimulus hopes
|London | Wall Street | Asia|
Chinese shares continued to rally as more weak economic data boosted hopes of fresh stimulus from the government.
Already sitting on top of multi-year highs, the Shanghai Composite closed more than 2% higher at 3,577.30 - hitting its highest since May 2008.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9% to close at 24,120.08 points.
Investors were unfazed by data that showed property prices fell at the fastest pace on record from a year ago since the survey started in 2011.
Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities dropped 5.7% in February - the sixth consecutive fall - following January's 5.1% decline.
The weak reading followed numbers on Tuesday which showed foreign direct investment in China grew at its weakest pace in six months.
Watching the Fed
Markets in the rest of Asia were more cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement.
Investors will look for clues in the statement as to when the US central bank will raise interest rates.
Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.6% to 19,544.48, a fresh 15-year high.
Shares of Nintendo finished up 21% after the videogame maker said it was stepping into the smartphone games market.
The market showed little reaction to data that showed export growth slowed sharply in February after surging in the previous months.
Exports rose 2.4% from a year ago, compared to a 17% jump in January.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended flat at 5,842.3.
Shares of the world's fourth largest miner Fortescue Metals plunged nearly 9% to its lowest level in six years after the firm pulled a $2.5bn (£1.7bn) bond issue on a weak response from investors concerned over slumping iron ore prices. It closed down 5.3%.
South Korean shares closed down almost 0.1% with the benchmark Kospi at 2,028.45.
Data that showed the country's unemployment rate rose to a five-year high in February.
The jobless rate was 4.6% - the highest since February 2010 - up from 3.8% in January.