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Asian Stocks Kick Off 2010 Higher

Asian stock markets kick off a new year on an upbeat note.

Japan's Nikkei Average gained 1 percent, with exporters such as Honda Motor up on a weaker yen after U.S. jobless claims data strengthened hopes for a steady economic recovery.'

The Tokyo Stock Exchange appeared to have a smooth start to its $145 million new "Arrowhead" trading system, as Asia's biggest bourse targets a dramatic increase in speed to
revive its business and reputation.

Consumer lender Aiful Corp opened up 0.8 percent after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) voted on Dec. 30 in favour of an auction to settle some $1.3
billion in credit derivatives contracts on Aiful.

Japan Airlines jumped 35.8 percent at the open after media reported that the state-owned
Development Bank of Japan would double its credit line for the struggling airline to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

The Nikkei gained 84.44 points to 10,630.88, while the broader Topix rose 0.8 percent to
914.51.

In Australia, shares were modestly higher, with gains in defensive stocks such as phone company Telstra and retailer Woolworths offsetting small declines in banks and miners.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 1.9 points at 4,872.5 at, following last year's 31 percent surge.

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