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Market Update

Nikkei, Shanghai Gain on Christmas Day

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Japanese stocks ended higher on thin volumes Wednesday as most Asian markets closed for the Christmas break.

The Nikkei gained 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite added 0.7%.

Japan is due to release manufacturing data later in the day and also the minutes of the Bank of Japan's last monetary policy meeting.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended higher in a holiday-shortened session with the Dow Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rising to record closing highs after upbeat data on durable goods orders. The Dow recorded its 49th record close this year after rising consecutively for the last five sessions.

Stocks on the Move

Seven & i Holdings picked up 1.5% after a Nikkei newspaper report the company is planning to purchase nearly half of Bals which runs home-and-kitchen furnishings retailer Francfranc for about 5 billion yen.

Softbank Corp. closed half a percent lower also on a report in the Nikkei that said the company is "in the final stages of talks" with Deutsche Telekom regarding a deal in which its unit Sprint would acquire Deutsche’s 67% stake in T-Mobile USA by as early as next spring and that the deal could be worth more than $19 billion.

Auto stocks ended mixed after car sales data for November were released.

Cement companies strengthened in Shanghai after state media reported the the country plans to start construction of more than 6 million affordable homes in 2014. Anhui Conch Cement and Huaxin Cement gained 1.9% each while the broader market-listed Jiangxi Wannianqing Cement and Tangshan Jidong Cement were up 1.6% and 1.4% each, respectively.

China Railway Construction ended up 0.6% after it announced Tuesday it has won a Wuhan subway contract worth 7.1 billion yuan.

China's largest appliance maker Qingdao Haier edged up 0.1% after China's Commerce Ministry approved a deal for U.S. private equity major KKR to buy a 10% stake in the company for about $556 million. The deal is pending approval by the Regulatory Commission.

Rouhan Sharma does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.