Japanese stocks rebounded from the sharp fall seen at the end of last week as robust domestic growth data and the weaker yen encouraged buying.
The Nikkei 225 Average rose 1.1 per cent to 9,827.51, back towards a 4½-month intraday high of 9,885.37 struck on Thursday. The broader Topix index rose 0.5 per cent to 851.56.
Japan’s economy grew 3.9 per cent on an annualised basis in the three months between July and September.
Michael Taylor, of Lombard Street Research, said the improvement had been fuelled by a temporary surge in consumer spending, spurred by impending sales taxes and the ending of incentives.
“Contraction in the fourth quarter is now very likely as consumption falls back and weakness in exports and investment spending, already evident in the third-quarter release, intensifies,” he said. “At the same time, deflation retains its grip on the economy.”
Meanwhile, export-oriented stocks pushed higher as the yen slipped towards a five-week low against the dollar.
Sony rose 2.7 per cent to Y2,790, Honda Motor added 1.7 per cent to Y3,035 and Olympus climbed 3.7 per cent to Y2,249.
But commodity-linked stocks eased back as worries about China’s economic growth hit global metals prices. Sumitomo Metal Mining fell 1.4 per cent to Y1,350 and Dowa Holdings, a metals products smelter, slid 2.1 per cent to Y511.
Shanghai also bounced back after suffering its worst one-day drop on Friday for more than a year.
The Composite index ended 1 per cent higher at 3,014.41, recouping some of the previous session’s 5.2 per cent slide, although volumes remained low amid continued concerns about further policy tightening by the People’s Bank of China.
Healthcare and consumer products stocks benefited from positive broker comment. Kangmei Pharmaceutical jumped 8.7 per cent to Rmb22.09 while spirits maker Kweichow Moutai gained 3.5 per cent to Rmb183.69.
But resources stocks followed their overseas counterparts lower. Jiangxi Copper fell 3.7 per cent to Rmb39.78 and aluminium producer Chinalco shed 1.7 per cent to Rmb11.35.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slipped 0.8 per cent to 24,027.18, its lowest close for two weeks, while the index of China Enterprise stocks, or H shares, fell 1.8 per cent.
Banks and property stocks fell amid reports that China’s biggest lenders had stopped new loans to real estate companies. The talk was later denied by the banks.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China fell 1.8 per cent to HK$6.49 while China Construction Bank lost 1.2 per cent to HK$7.34.
China Overseas Land and Investment shed 2.9 per cent to HK$15.98 and China Resources Land lost 2.1 per cent to HK$15.06.
The Australian market managed to put its concerns over weaker commodity prices to one side as AMP, the asset manager, rose 2.3 per cent to A$5.45 after teaming up with French insurer AXA to make a fresh bid for AXA Asia Pacific, which rose 6.8 per cent to A$6.17.
BHP Billiton initially pushed higher after abandoning its $39bn bid for Canada’s PotashCorp and resuming a $4.2bn share buy-back. However, BHP shares finally settled 0.4 per cent lower at A$44.14.
The S&P/ASX 200 index eased 0.1 per cent to 4,688.0.
In Taipei, the Weighted index fell 0.9 per cent to a three-week closing low of 8,240.65 while the Straits Times index in Singapore shed 0.5 per cent to 3,236.80.
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