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Asia Trades Mixed Following China Data

Asian stocks traded mixed on Tuesday following China's closely-watched inflation data.

China's consumer price index rose 4.9 percent in January on-year. Markets were expecting a rise of 5.3 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose more than 1 percent beore closing flat. On Monday, it jumped 2.5 percent on market rumours of the inflation data.

Japanese stocks edged higher to log a 10-month closing high. The Nikkei 225 ended up 0.20 percent at 10,746.67. The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent.

The Bank of Japan raised its assessment of the economy on Tuesday to say it is gradually emerging from a slowdown, further signaling that no imminent monetary easing is on the horizon. As widely expected, the central bank kept monetary policy steady and maintained interest rates at a range of zero to 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote.

South Korea's KOSPI gave up some initial gains, weighed by falls in
automakers including Hyundai Motor .Shares of POSCO were also under pressure, affected by heavy snowfall in Korea's southeast. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent.

Shares of Softbank jumped to their highest in nearly four years after Japan's number three mobile phone operator agreed to partner with China Mobile , Vodafone, India's Bharti Airtel and others to promote a next generation standard.

Yamaha Motor plunged over 10 percent to 1,545 yen after the motorcycle maker said it expects its operating profit to rise 3.3 percent to 53 billion yen this year, below an average estimate of 67.6 billion yen in a poll of 13 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Australian stocks ended little changed on Tuesday. The S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.1 percent but holding near a 10-month high, as banks eased and top global miner BHP Billiton firmed ahead of its results following a two-week rally.

While several companies reported results on Tuesday, the focus was on the market's biggest company, BHP Billiton, which is tipped to nearly double its half-year profit to a record high on Wednesday, with investors hoping it will expand its $4.2 billion buyback and step up its dividend sharply. Rival Rio Tinto closed down 0.4 percent.

Trading in the shares of bourse operator ASX was suspended pending a revised deal with Singapore Exchange on the composition of their combined board in a new merged entity. Shares of the SGX fell as much as 1.6 percent after they were lifted from a trading halt.

ASX and SGX agreed both would have five board seats after the $7.9 billion deal and three seats would be given to international directors. The ASX trading halt was lifted after the official close and the shares gained 1.7 percent to A$39.00 during the settlement period.

Among the banks, number three lender Westpac Banking rose initially, but ended down 0.5 percent at A$24.31.

Westpac reported a small fall in first-quarter cash earnings, in a less impressive showing than its bigger rivals Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank.

Top brewer Foster's Group outlined a long-awaited plan to spin off its wine business after reporting a worse than expected 5.6 percent fall in first-half profit.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell over a percent on Tuesday as investors locked in gains from the previous trading session and as funds continue to flow out of emerging markets over inflation concerns.

Shares of commodities firm Olam International fell as much as 3 percent after merger talks between the firm and top flight commodity group Louis Dreyfus failed.

But Olam reported on Monday a better-than-expected 8.5 percent fall in second quarter net profit to S$145.4 million ($113.4 million), as higher commodity prices and margins helped offset a decrease in one-time gains.

Indian markets saw choppy trade. The Sensex reversed early gains to trade down 0.1 percent.

Reliance Communications fell as much as 2.3 percent after it reported a 57-percent drop in quarterly profit, its sixth straight quarter of profit fall, hit by lower call prices and costs from its heavy debt burden.

Unitech slid as much as 4.4 percent after India's second-biggest listed real estate company reported a 37 percent fall in quarterly profit, as high property prices and borrowing costs hurt demand.

The FTSE CNBC 100 Index was down 0.3 percent.

Markets in Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for Prophet Muhammad's birthday.

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