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Most Asia markets advance as China's Q3 GDP matches expectations

Asian markets open mixed

Markets in Asia mostly advanced on Wednesday, following government data that showed the Chinese economy grew in line with expectations for the July-September quarter.

Numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics in China showed the third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7 percent on-year and 1.8 percent on-quarter.

"Growth is no longer a major concern, as the property frenzy has topped the government's agenda," said Raymond Yeung, chief economist for Greater China at ANZ, in a note. He added it was likely China would aachieve the government's 2016 growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent.

"The government will now focus on capacity reduction and corporate deleveraging," he added.

Among other data released Wednesday, China's fixed-asset investment increased 8.2 percent nominally on-year in the January-September period, retail sales were up 10.7 percent on-year in September and industrial production increased by 6.1 percent on-year in September, missing markets' expectation for a 6.4 percent rise.

The miss in industrial production likely weighed the Australian dollar. which slid to as low as $0.7658 from levels as high as $0.7690 before the release of the data. The Australian dollar is considered a proxy for the health of China's economy as the latter is Australia's largest trading partner. At 2:28 p.m. HK/SIN, the Australian dollar was fetching $0.7665.

Chinese equity markets reacted little; the composite was flat, while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.18 percent.

In Japan, the ended up 0.21 percent, or 35.30 points, at 16,998.91, while across the Korean Strait, the Kospi edged up 0.02 percent, or 0.51 point, to 2040.94. In Hong Kong, the slipped 0.22 percent by afternoon trade.

Australia's ASX 200 rose 0.46 percent, or 24.65 points, to end at 5435.40.

In the broader currency market, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was nearly flat, trading at 97.894 at 2:33 p.m. HK/SIN, compared with its last close at 97.90.

This was despite stateside data showing the consumer price index rose 0.3 percent on month in September, after rising 0.2 percent in August. The September print was in line with expectations from economists polled by Reuters.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

"Hotter inflation does not equal a hotter dollar," said Kathy Lien, managing director for foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, in a morning note. "Rate hike expectations have not been altered by the CPI report."

The British pound climbed as high as $1.2314 in early Asia trade, up from levels below $1.216 on Tuesday, following reports on Tuesday that parliament may need to ratify any deal to exit the European Union, helping to ease concerns of a "hard Brexit."

That offset higher-than-expected U.K. inflation data for September which showed a 1.0 percent on-year increase in prices, which may dampen consumer demand even as the Bank of England has said it will remain dovish.

As of 2:33 p.m. HK/SIN, the pound traded at $1.2267.

The traded as much as 18.5810 against the dollar in Asia trade on Wednesday, with the pair falling from levels above 19.00 in the previous session.

"The currency pair ... [eased overnight] on [Donald] Trump losing ground to become the 45th president of the United States," said analysts at Singapore's DBS Bank.

Traders would likely be looking ahead to the final U.S. presidential debate between nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump later this week.

Elsewhere, shares of Australian resources producer BHP Billiton ended down 0.75 percent after the company said before the market open that its quarterly iron ore production was 58 million tons for the September 2016 quarter, compared with the 61 million tons produced in the year-earlier period; fiscal 2017 guidance remained between 265 million and 275 million tons. Analysts said the figures missed expectations.

Whitehaven Coal shares jumped to end up 6.73 percent on Wednesday, after the company released its production numbers for the September quarter earlier in the week, saying managed coal sales were at 5.03 million tons, 12 percent higher than the year-earlier period.

But Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to "Underperform" from "Neutral" on Wednesday, saying that after the strong share-price rally, it was time to "take profits" on the stock and that metallurgical coal prices peaked in the fourth quarter of 2016.

"High prices should entice [re-starts] of shuttered capacity and more washing of met coals recently sold as unwashed thermal coal," the analysts said, adding thermal coal appeared to have peaked as China looks to loosen restrictions that drove up imports and prices.

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Shares of Japanese electronics maker Sharp jumped 10.64 percent, following a report from the Nikkei business daily that said the company expected to report its first group operating profit in three years, totaling around 40 billion yen ($384 million) for fiscal 2016.

Sharp, however, put out a statement saying its consolidated net sales for the year ended March 31, 2017, were forecasted to end lower than the previous fiscal year. The company said it would announce financial results for the quarter ended September 30 on November 1.

Shares of Mitsubishi Motors surged 7.85 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported, citing sources, that Nissan Motor chief Carlos Ghosn would serve as chairman at the beleaguered automaker. Shares of Nissan added 0.52 percent, even as most Japanese automakers traded lower. Nissan plans to buy around a third of Mitsubishi Motors, which has struggled in the wake of a scandal over falsified mileage data.

In the gaming space, shares of Crown Resorts, one of Australia's largest casino companies, were down 3.0 percent. Earlier this week, reports said 18 of Crown's employees, including the executive vice president of the VIP international business, Jason O'Connor, were detained by Chinese authorities.

Casinos cannot advertise in China and promoting gambling in other ways, such as advertising resort facilities or offering credit to high-spending clients, can also be problematic, Reuters said.

The news also sent shares of rival Star Entertainment down 2.19 percent. Hong Kong-listed gaming stocks were mixed in afternoon trade, with Wynn Macau down 2.01 percent, Melco International up 0.41 percent and Galaxy Entertainment down 0.17 percent.

Some analysts said on Tuesday this may have opened up a buying opportunity for the gaming sector.

In the U.S., stocks closed higher on Tuesday, with the rising 75.54 points, or 0.42 percent, to 18,161.94. The S&P 500 index climbed 13.10 points, or 0.62 percent, to end at 2,139.60, while the composite advanced 44.01 points, or 0.85 percent, to close at 5,243.84.