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Asian markets trade mostly higher in early deals on Thursday

Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Thursday on optimism over prospects for global growth and improved corporate earnings. The dollar pulled back from three-year lows after ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny voiced worries about the euro's recent strength against the dollar. China's Shanghai Composite index is higher as investors await a raft of data due later in the day for direction. Markets will focus to a deluge of Chinese data scheduled for Thursday, including GDP, industrial production and retail sales. Official data released earlier in the day showed that China's property market remained largely stable in December despite tough purchase restrictions. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average soared to a level not seen since November 1991 after exporters such as electronics components manufacturers surged, tracking the strength on Wall Street overnight. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are higher. Bucking the trend, Malaysia is in negative territory.

Nikkei 225 added 154.54 points or 0.65% to 24,022.88, Taiwan Weighted jumped 117.72 points or 1.07% to 11,122.52, Hang Seng gained 38.32 points or 0.12% to 32,021.73, Jakarta Composite rose 22.13 points or 0.34% to 6,466.65, Shanghai Composite added 8.61 points or 0.25% to 3,453.28, KOSPI Index increased 7.44 points or 0.3% to 2,522.87, and Straits Times was up by 5.26 points or 0.15% to 3,547.17.

On the flip side, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was down by 4.53 points or 0.25% to 1,824.10.

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