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Market Update

Asian Shares Ex-Japan Gain

Asian markets ended mostly higher Friday following the release of a batch of economic data in the region and as worries about a military strike on Syria eased.

At close, both the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng were up 0.1% each, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries rose 0.8% while the Sensex rallied 1.8%

On the other side, the Nikkei lagged behind ending down 0.5%.

Official economic reports released today showed Japan's core consumer price inflation was a more-than-expected 0.7% in July as compared with 0.4% in June.

Meanwhile, industrial production in the country increased a less-than-expected 3.2% in July, following a 3.1% decline in the previous month.

According to a separate report, unemployment rate in Japan dropped to 3.8% in July from 3.9% in June. Analysts were expecting the unemployment rate to come in steady.

In Australia, report published by the central bank said private sector credit in the country expanded 0.4% in July, which is the same as reported in the previous month.

Overnight, data released in the U.S. showed the economy grew at a faster than expected annual rate of 2.5% in the second quarter. Wall Street stocks ended in the green on heels of the upbeat data even as worries about Syria abated slightly after reports said U.K. lawmakers had turned down a motion to authorize in principle a military strike against Syria.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, was prepared to go ahead on a limited military action on Syria without the U.K., the New York Times reported. The White House was expected to present its case for military action to Congressional leaders Thursday night.

Oil futures ticked lower after U.K.'s vote against military strikes on Syria eased some concerns of the escalating geopolitical tension thwarting global oil supply. Gold and silver prices also eased as risk sentiment improved a bit.

Stocks on the Move

Exporters traded mixed in Tokyo. Panasonic Corp. rose 2.4%, Advantest Corp. added 0.3% while Canon Inc. lost early gains and finished flat.

On the earnings front, Sumco gained 1.6% on expectations of 80% gain in operating profit for the Feb-July period.

Hokkaido Electric Power soared 3.5% after the company said it expected a narrower loss for the next fiscal year.

On the downside, Nintendo Co. tumbled over 6% after slashing the price of its Wi U video-game console.

Oil stocks also moved lower tracking losses in global crude prices. Inpex Corp. fell 2% while JX Holdings slipped 1.5%.

In Hong Kong, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. lost 1.8% while CNOOC Ltd. eased 0.8%.

Property developers moved off early losses and finished mostly higher. China Resources Land edged up 0.5% while Poly Property Group gained 1.3%.

Some financials reversed losses too. ICBC added 0.6% and Hang Seng Bank improved 0.3%. Ping An Insurance climbed 0.9% after posting higher first-half profit.

More on earnings, Shanghai Industrial Holdings  reported a 34% decline in its first-half profits. Shares of the investment holding company declined 1%.

In Mumbai, all eyes were on the GDP data due to be released later today. Markets initially moved lowerr following the prime minister's speech on the economy. Prime minister Manmohan Sing pledged to take "all possible steps" to cut the current account deficit and to reassure foreign investors.

But stocks, soon recovered from earlier declines and gained ground towards the session close.

Top gainers on the 30-share benchmark index were Bajaj Auto (+5.6%), Cipla (+5%), TCS (+4%), HDFC Bank (+3.9%) and Hindustan Unilever (+3.7%).

Meanwhile in Sydney, Virgin Australia Holdings dropped 3.7% as the airline posted $88 million in annual loss.

Close rival Qantas Airways fell 2.1% after rallying in the previous session in wake of upbeat results released yesterday.

Among others, banking stocks posted modest gains with NAB and Westpac Banking adding around 0.5% each while ANZ rallied over 2%.

In the resources segment, leading miner BHP Billiton added 1.1%, Fortescue Metals Group inched up 0.5%. Rio Tinto also erased early losses to end slightly above the flatline.