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Asian markets trade mostly higher in early deals on Friday

Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Friday following the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street amid easing worries about US Treasuries and a rise in crude oil prices. Optimism about upbeat corporate earnings results also lifted investors' sentiments. Meanwhile, China stocks shrugged off soft trade data to rise, helped by gains in banking and energy firms. China's exports and imports growth slowed in December after unexpectedly surging the previous month, adding to signs of ebbing economic growth as the government extended a crackdown on financial risks and factory pollution. China reported trade data for December with exports up 10.9%, compared to a gain of 9.1% seen, imports posted a 4.5% rise, compared to a 13.0% increase expected and the trade balance came in at $54.69 billion surplus, compared to surplus of $37 billion seen. Though, Japanese market is modestly lower in choppy trade, with a stronger yen weighing on exporters' shares. Investors also digested downbeat Japanese economic data. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Hong Kong are higher.

Hang Seng added 90.93 points or 0.29% to 31,211.32, Straits Times gained 6.65 points or 0.19% to 3,519.33, Taiwan Weighted rose 69.87 points or 0.65% to 10,879.93, Jakarta Composite strengthen 5.71 points or 0.09% to 6,392.05, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI increased 4.01 points or 0.22% to 1,820.89, Shanghai Composite spurt 3.31 points or 0.1% to 3,428.65, and KOSPI Index was up by 2.59 points or 0.1% to 2,490.50.

On the flip side, Nikkei 225 was down by 11.32 points or 0.05% to 23,699.11.

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