Asia stocks gain on Dow's record; Nikkei at new 6-year high
Asian stocks rose on Friday as Japan's Nikkei index logged a fresh six-year high on the back of a weak yen while a record close on the Dow underpinned gains in the rest of the region.
Wall Street shares continued their record-setting advance on Thursday after data showed fewer Americans than expected filing applications for jobless benefits last week, casting a positive light on the labor market. That saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb for a sixth consecutive session, posting its 50th record-high close of the year.
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Shanghai gains 1.3%
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite rebounded after closing down 1.5 percent in the previous session as bargain-hunting offset weaker corporate data. Industrial profits in November rose an annual 9.7 percent, slower than October's 15.1 percent gain.
Property developers rose despite news that legislation for property taxes may be sped up, according to Finance Minister Lou Jiwei. Gemdale, Vanke, Poly Real Estate and China Merchants all added over 2 percent each.
Financials led the gains with Hua Xia Bank 3.5 percent higher while Minsheng Bank and Merchants Bank rallied over 1 percent each. Investors digested news that Beijing announced rules allowing commercial banks to use wealth management funds to buy preferred shares on domestic bourses.
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Meanwhile, the yuan hit a fresh record high against the greenback after the People's Bank of China fixed the currency's mid-point at its highest level since the 2005 landmark revalaution.
Japanese shares pared gains in choppy trade as profit-taking overshadowed optimism over a weaker currency. Still, the benchmark Nikkei closes at its highest levels since November 2007 for the fifth time in the past seven days.
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Since hitting a one-month trough on November 8, the index has risen 16 percent, which means it is fast approaching bull market territory. Bull territory essentially means a rise of at least 20 percent from a recent low.
Core inflation rose to a 15-year high in November, suggesting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's radical economic policies are working to stimulate the economy. That saw the yen hit fresh five-year lows against both the greenback and euro.
Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 reversed gains to close just below the flat line, snapping a four-session winning streak, after being shut for the past two sessions. Earlier in the session, the index hit a new one-month high at 5,365 points.
Rio Tinto rallied 1 percent while and BHP Billiton ended 0.6 percent higher after copper prices hit four-month highs. Gold miners also lent support despite lower bullion prices. Alacer Gold climbed 6.5 percent while Newcrest Mining rose 2.5 percent.
The index ended 133 points shy of October's five-and-a-half year high of 5,457 points.
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Kospi ends 0.1% higher
A weaker Japanese currency weighed on South Korean manufactures, leading the benchmark Kospi to trade in a narrow 20-point range. A declining yen hurts the competitive advantage of domestic exporters as it makes their goods more expensive in comparison.
Emerging markets mixed
Thai shares shed 1.3 percent to hit a four-month low after sinking nearly 2 percent in the previous session. The government rejected calls to postpone February elections on Thursday following clashes between police and opposition protesters trying to disrupt preparations for the vote.
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Indian shares meanwhile, pared gains after hitting a two-week high at 21,217 points earlier in the session.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter