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Asian shares rise in quiet holiday trade



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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 21 Feb 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
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Japanese shares Image copyright AFP
Image caption Japanese shares were higher in light trade

Asian shares ended higher following a quiet trading session given several of the region's major markets closed for the Good Friday holidays.

Investors took their positive lead from Wall Street where stocks ended higher as they awaited key US jobs figures due later today.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.6% to 19,435.08 - gaining 0.8% for the week.

The dollar was down to 119.68 yen from 119.77 yen in New York.

Car giant Toyota's shares were up 0.6% after local reports that it is planning to open two new factories in Mexico and China at a cost of $1.25bn (£842m).

Markets in Australia and Hong Kong are closed for the public holiday.

Fresh highs

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite closed at a fresh seven-year high, gaining 1% to 3,863.93 points.

China's benchmark equity index has rallied 4.7% this week driven by expectations of more monetary easing.

China's securities regulator also approved 30 initial public offerings (IPOs) on Thursday, a move that could cool the stock market rally as investors look to move funds from existing stocks.

A private survey also showed that China's services sector expanded in March but growth in employment and new business fell to their lowest in eight months.

The HSBC/Markit China services purchasing managers' index (PMI) was up to 52.3, from February's 52. That's above the 50-point level that separates growth from a contraction in activity.

Despite the thin trade, South Korean shares hit their highest closing level in six and half months and climbed 1.3% for the week.

The benchmark Kospi index closed up 0.8% to 2,045.42 points - its highest finish since 19 September.

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