Japan's Nikkei hits another seven-year high

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Leading Japanese shares hit another seven-year high on Wednesday, adding to the big gains made this week.

The Nikkei closed up 0.4% at 17,197.05 on news that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might call a snap election and postpone plans to increase the sales tax from the current 8% to 10%.

That marked the highest close since October 2007.

Retailers outperformed, on hopes of a potential delay to the hike in sales tax, which could affect revenues.

Shares in J Front Retailing rose 3%, while Takashimaya climbed 2.9%.

The yen, which had fallen to a seven-year low of 116.11 yen to the dollar on Tuesday, strengthened slightly against the US currency to 115.37 yen.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index closed up 0.55% at 23,938.18, while the Shanghai Composite in China finished 1% higher at 2,494.48.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1% to a two-week low of 5,463, despite a survey showing that consumer sentiment rose for a second month in November.

The Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank index of consumer sentiment rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in November from October.

Shares of Myer, Australia's largest department store, fell by more than 8% to their lowest level in more than two years after latest sales figures came in well below market expectations.

South Korean shares were up 0.2% with the Kospi at 1,967.27 after data showed that the October unemployment rate was steady at 3.5%, the same as the previous month.

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