Asian Shares Rise On Strong China Trade Data

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( – Asian stock markets closed mostly higher on Friday after strong trade data from China added to evidence of strength in the world’s second-largest economy. Data showed that China’s imports growth in September exceeded expectations, while exports expanded at a slower than expected pace, but remained robust.

The Australian market closed at its highest level since June 2017, reflecting gains by healthcare stocks after the federal government announced plans for proposed healthcare reforms.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 19.70 points or 0.34 percent to settle at 5,814.20. The broader All Ordinaries Index added 20.60 points or 0.35 percent to close at 5,884.70.

Mining stocks advanced on news of strong iron ore imports by China in September. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose 0.6 percent each, while Fortescue Metals added 0.4 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank added 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Commonwealth Bank said it will alter the way it pays bonuses to its branch tellers by rewarding them for better customer services rather than for attaining financial targets.

Oil stocks recovered from early losses despite lower crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum added 0.3 percent, Santos rose 0.5 percent and Oil Search added 0.2 percent.

The Japanese market surged to a fresh 21-year high, boosted by optimism that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party will win the general elections later this month.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index gained 200.46 points or 0.96 percent to finish at 21,155.18, its highest level since September 1996. The broader Topix Index added 0.5 percent to settle at 1,708.62.

Shares of Fast Retailing gained 5.5 percent after the index heavyweight reported a record profit for the fiscal year ended in…

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