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Asia shares mixed after China GDP beats forecasts

An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall in Jiujiang, China.
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall in Jiujiang, China.

Asian shares were mixed amid choppy trade on Monday after China's gross domestic product (GDP) showed the world's second-biggest economy cooled lesser than expected.

China's economy expanded 6.9 percent on-year in the third quarter, official data showed on Monday, compared with the prediction of 6.8 percent by Reuters.

However, a string of monthly indicators released alongside the GDP data hinted at lingering weakness in the economy.

Industrial production rose 5.7 percent on-year in September, missing expectations for a rise of 6.0 percent and coming in below August's 6.1 percent gain.

Read More Poll: How is China's slowdown impacting your investments?

Fixed-asset investment (FAI) - seen as a crucial driver of China's economy - came in at 10.3 percent in the first nine months of 2015, also below estimates for 10.8 percent growth.

Retail sales was the exception, with annual growth of 10.9 percent in September, slightly above Reuters' prediction of 10.8 percent.

"It's hard to be overly optimistic about the headline number, especially given the range of other data released today. Nonetheless, markets have clearly been buoyed by the better than expected headline number, and it shows that China's economy has not deteriorated as much as some had thought," IG's market analyst Augus Nicholson wrote in a note.

ANZ analysts agree: "This is the first time since first quarter [in] 2009 that GDP growth has fallen below percent, suggesting China has entered a 'new normal'. We think that this number will be perceived as an upside surprise by the market. Fourth quarter growth outlook should still be stable on fiscal support and monetary policy easing, implying that full year GDP growth could be closer to the target level of 7 percent."

An upbeat lead from Wall Street probably helped sentiment in Asia as well. U.S. stocks finished higher last Friday, chalking up a third week of gains, on the back of surging General Electric shares and upbeat consumer sentiment data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed up 0.4 and 0.5 percent respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.3 percent, posting its first three consecutive weeks of gains since February.

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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China stocks mixed

China's key Shanghai Composite closed down 0.1 percent after paring most of its losses in late-day trading.

Banking shares which are seen as a proxy on economic growth largely gave up gains, with heavyweight Bank of China shedding 0.3 percent. Agricultural Bank of China slipped 0.3 percent, but Bank of Communications bounced up 0.8 percent.

Fortunately, hefty buy orders for brokerages helped to limit the bourse's drop. Founder Securities and Haitong Securities rose more than 1 percent each, while China Merchants Securities climbed 3.9 percent.

Among other indexes, the CSI300 Index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen ended flat and the smaller Shenzhen Composite ticked up 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.2 percent late Monday.

In other news, three officials at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) are under investigation by the ruling Chinese Communist Party's graft watchdog for "serious violations of discipline", officials said on Monday. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection identified the three as Wang Wei, head of the commission's social development unit, his deputy Ren Wei, and Zhou Heyu, a researcher at the "life quality" division, Reuters reported.

Read MoreChina's Q3 GDP: News and analysis

Nikkei loses 0.9%

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell back into the red as earlier risk-on sentiment induced by China's data deluge faded.

Counters with heavy exposure to China traded on the back foot; JFE Holdings, and Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal declined 3.2 and 2.3 percent respectively, while construction equipment maker Komatsu retreated 1.8 percent.

Financials resumed their downfall, after briefly enjoying a reprieve near mid-day. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost more than 1 percent each, while Nomura Holdings eased 0.7 percent.

Outperforming the bourse, Nintendo elevated nearly 2 percent following a report by the Wall Street Journal last Friday that the company has started distributing a software development kit for its new videogame platform code-named NX.

Tokyo Electric Power rallied 3.4 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported the utility would issue bonds for the first time in six years, raising 330 billion yen ($2.77 billion) through multiple offerings within the 2016 fiscal year.

Read MoreJapan shows off naval power as US signals wider engagement inwestern Pacific

ASX flat

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index finished just a tad below the flatline after a choppy session.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, got an upward lift from China's data barrage; the local currency inched up to $0.7275 versus the greenback, compared with $0.7241 prior to the data announcements.

Westpac shares soared 3.7 percent on its first day of trading since being placed under a trading halt last Wednesday following an announcement of a $2.54 billion capital raising. Other banks were mixed; Australia and New Zealand Banking and National Australia Bank gained 0.7 and 0.6 percent respectively, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia shed 0.2 percent.

Treasury Wine Estates closed up 12.6 percent, thanks to news that the winemaker is acquiring Diageo's U.S. and British operations.

Meanwhile, iron ore miner and steelmaker Arrium widened gains to 14.3 percent after reporting ore sales of 2.09 million dry tonnes for the quarter.

Kospi flat

South Korea's Kospi index ended unchanged on Monday after fluctuating within a tight trading range following the release of China's GDP figures.

Blue chips Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell nearly 1 percent each, while steelmaker Posco plunged 1.4 percent.

Cosmetics makers AmorePacific and LG Household & Health, which are dependent on demand from mainland consumers, closed down 0.9 and 0.4 percent respectively.

Korea Zinc receded 0.8 percent, on course for its fourth straight session of losses, after Nomura cuts its rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy."

KLCI adds 0.08%

Malaysian shares nudged up in rangebound trade, as nerves lingered after the country's opposition submitted a notice for a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Najib Razak over the weekend.

Earlier in the session, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI index hit its highest level since August 15, tracking relief across the region after China's GDP print came in above analyst forecasts.The index finished the day 0.08 percent higher.

Shares of national electricity utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd inched down after it submitted a conditional offer to buy the energy assets of 1MDB.