Japan's Nikkei sees fourth day of gains on weaker yen

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Japan's benchmark Nikkei index climbed to a fresh seven-year high on Wednesday as investor sentiment continued to be buoyed by the weaker yen.

The index closed up 0.3% at 17,720.43 points - its highest closing level since July 2007.

The weakening yen, which is good for Japan's exporters, fell to a new seven-year low against the dollar.

The Nikkei's highs come despite a move by Moody's earlier this week to cut Japan's credit rating.

On Monday, the ratings agency cut its rating on Japan by one notch to A1 from Aa3, underlining concerns about the nation's economy.

Australian growth

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.8% at 5,321.80, despite official figures on Wednesday showing weaker-than-expected economic growth for the July-to-September quarter.

Analysts said the weak gross domestic product numbers were due largely to a drop off in mining investment.

Australia's economy grew by 0.3% in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, and was up 2.7% year-on-year, according to official numbers.

Economists had expected quarterly growth of 0.7% for the period and year-on-year growth of 3.1%.

The Australian dollar fell to a new four-year low on the news.

Shares in Greater China reversed earlier gains to close down 1% with the Hang Seng index at 23,428.62.

In Shanghai, stocks headed in the opposite direction with the benchmark composite index finishing up 0.6% at 2,779.53.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was up 0.2% at 1,969.91, boosted by strong US sales numbers for November, while the South Korean won moved closer to a 15-month low.

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