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Asian Shares Rise, Earnings Worries Remain

Asian shares rose on Thursday as signs of recovery in China and the United States eased fears of deteriorating global growth, though generally weak corporate earnings continued to make investors wary.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index, which measures markets across Asia, gained 0.3 percent.

Japanese shares rose to a four-week closing high, lifted by exporters as the yen fell on growing expectations that the Bank of Japan would further ease monetary policy next week.

The Nikkei climbed 1.1 percent to 9,055.20, breaking above its 5-day moving average at 9,007.43.

The broader Topix index advanced 1.1 percent to 751.42.

KDDI was the most-traded share by turnover, rising 5.1 percent to a one-year high, in spite of logging a first-half drop in operating profit, with analysts noting that the mobile operator seemed confident of two-digit operating profit growth in the next business year.

A more attractive exchange rate helped even firms that slashed their outlook to advance, including electric motor maker Nidec, which shot up 6.9 percent despite cutting its annual operating profit forecast by 16 percent.

9 out of the 12 Nikkei companies that have reported earnings so far have undershot expectations, with some analysts fearing the worst is yet to come from exporters saddled with a strong yen that erodes overseas revenue when repatriated.

Some firms have managed to buck that trend. Mitsubishi Motor hiked its operating profit estimate for the six months to Sept. 30 by 3 percent to 30.8 billion yen, thanks to cost-cutting efforts, helping the stock rise 4.4 percent.

Market participants' reactions to guidance cuts and profit warnings have been surprisingly moderate given their severity.

For example, Sharp, whose share price had lost 75 percent for the year to date through Wednesday, sagged 4.8 p percent after the Nikkei business daily said the company is likely to log a first-half loss of around $5 billion, almost double that projected in August, due to restructuring costs.

Nintendo's stock also dropped just 0.8 percent after the videogames maker cut its annual profit outlook to 20 billion yen ($251 million) from the 35 billion yen forecast in July. Investors are now hoping that its new Wii console will spur growth.

In contrast, Yahoo Japan sagged 4.9 percent even after its second-quarter operating profit came in at 43.3 billion yen, safely within its guidance range, as investors fretted over falling advertising revenue in the near future.

China shares slipped, dragged lower by the growth-sensitive banking and energy sectors as investors took profits on recent outperformers.

The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings ended down 0.7 percent at 2,291.2, its lowest close since Oct. 8. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.7 percent to its lowest close since Oct. 16.

Hong Kong shares eked out a 10th straight gain, with the rally that has taken the Hang Seng Index o 2012 highs showing signs of fatigue as investors took profits on outperformers.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.2 percent at 21,810.2, the highest close since Aug. 4 last year. The China Enterprises Index f the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong ended down 0.2 percent at 10,616.4.

The Macau gaming sector was the standout outperformer on the day after Wynn Macau and Galaxy Entertainment posted third-quarter corporate earnings that bettered expectations. Galaxy jumped 3.6 percent, while Wynn Macau rose 2.5 percent and Sands China gained 3.5 percent.

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchange(HKEx) and the Hong Kong property sector were weaker as investors trimmed recent strong gains on expectations that capital inflows into the city could buoy property prices. HKEx slipped 0.6 percent, while Cheung Kong Holdings shed 0.4 percent.

South Korean shares edged higher after Hyundai Motor reported third quarter earnings that met market expectations.

Hyundai Motor reported July-September net profit of 2.17 trillion won ($1.97 billion), an increase of 13 percent and in line with market forecasts, with growth held back by labor strikes in South Korea even as overseas sales rose.

Shares in Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest car maker, jumped 3.9 percent on the news.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed 0.5 percent higher to 1,924.5 points, snapping a run of four losing sessions

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics also ended 1.7 percent higher a day before the release of its third quarter results.

Australian shares closed up 0.1 percent in patchy trade, consolidating a breakout above its long-term trading range as investors await U.S. data later in the day for clearer direction.

After an early decline, the market was buoyed by a recovery in copper prices and as investors bought defensive shares such as telecommunications company Telstra, which rose 1 percent to A$4.07.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 4.7 points to 4,510.5, according to the latest data, have slipped to its lowest close in a week in the previous session. The index hit a 15-month high above 4,550 last Thursday.

Investors will watch U.S. initial jobless claims and durable goods orders for fresh signs on the health of the U.S. economy.

ANZ fell 0.9 percent to A$25.38 after a rise in bad debt charges underlined the challenge facing Australia's banks.

Westfield Retail Trust rose 2.6 percent to A$3.13 after it announced an on-market buy-back of up to A$200 million.

Echo Entertainment fell 3.7 percent to A$3.65. A proposal by rival Crown for a second casino in Sydney passed a first stage of government approval and will now undergo financial appraisal. Shares in Crown slipped 0.3 percent to A$9.46.

Broker Wilson HTM Investment Group rose 7 percent to A$0.22 after Mariner made a two-for-three all-scrip offer to shareholders that it said was worth A$24.5 million ($25.3 million). Mariner shares rose 14 percent to A$0.40.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index closed 0.3 percent to 3,990.4.

India's BSE Index gained 0.4 percent, while the 50-share NSE index ended up 0.3 percent.

In Southeast Asia, both Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.4 percent, and Malaysia's KL Composite gained 0.2 percent.