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Asia stocks mixed after US record closes; Nikkei at 7-year peak

Asian equity markets were mixed on Tuesday following a record close on Wall Street, with Japanese markets outperforming the region.

The S&P 500 and the Dow ended at fresh all-time highs on Monday with investors tracking corporate results as the earnings season starts to wind down.

"There is little in the way of macro news at the moment and this is allowing the markets to run; the U.S. markets, in particular, are gunning for any reason to head higher....The knife is still falling in oil, industrial commodities and iron ore. So, I would be watching anything with U.S.-exposure, or that continues to return capital to shareholders, as being very attractive in the current environment," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a morning note.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Nikkei 2% higher

Japanese shares closed above 17,000 points for the first time in seven years, one day after closing at a one-week low. The mood was upbeat after the Bank of Japan purchased 38 billion yen of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) after the market close on Monday, part of its stimulus program.

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Data showing September's current account balance rose 61.9 percent from a year earlier, a third straight month of surplus, also lifted sentiment.

Sumitomo Metal Mining surged 5 percent after raising its full-year net profit forecast.

Shanghai slips 0.1%

Mainland shares reversed gains after hitting a new three-year peak earlier in the day due to profit-taking.

Earlier gains were underpinned by a rally in financial shares after a new launch date was announced for the Stock Connect program on Monday. Founder Securities increased over 7 percent while Agricultural Bank of China gained 6 percent.

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China Minsheng Banking rallied 2.5 percent after announcing that plans to sell 30 billion yuan in preferred shares onshore and offshore to raise capital.

ASX 0.1% lower

Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 index extended losses as investors shrugged off a survey from the National Australia Bank showing business conditions posting the biggest increase on record in October.

Miners BC Iron, Atlas Iron and Mount Gibson fell between 5 to 8 percent as spot iron ore continued to trade below $76 a ton, levels not seen since June 2009. Also weighing on sentiment were reports that a combined $10 billion were wiped off their market capitalizations since December 31.

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Fertilizer manufacturer Incitec Pivot rallied over 5 percent after increasing its final dividend to 7.3 cents from 5.8 cents a share and revealing a 33 percent fall in full-year net profit.

Kospi up 0.2%

South Korean shares ended at its highest levels this month, rising for a fourth straight session, following news of a free-trade deal with China on Monday.

Hyundai Motor climbed nearly 6 percent after announcing it would buy back $413 million worth of its own shares to increase shareholder value. Sister firm Kia Motors jumped over 2 percent.

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Nifty at record high

Indian shares gained 0.4 percent to a new all-time peak ahead of consumer inflation data on Wednesday. On Monday, the Nifty index briefly hit a record high but ended flat on profit-taking.