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Market Update

Asia Claws Back; Nikkei Drags

Asian markets shrugged off early wariness and climbed higher Wednesday after data showed positive economic growth in Hong Kong .

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% at close, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.5%.

India’s Sensex rallied 0.6% and Australia's All Ordinaries inched up 0.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei, however, lagged behind, ending down 0.5%.

Markets had opened lower today, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street. Stocks, however, recovered from earlier lows on heels of upbeat data from Hong Kong.

Official reports released today showed Hong Kong's gross domestic product improved more than expected in the previous quarter. The GDP rose to a seasonally adjusted 1.1% from 0.5% in the preceding quarter, and above expectations of an increase of 0.9%.

Stocks on the Move

Exporters in Tokyo were mixed -- Panasonic Corp. jumped more than 5% after reports said the electronics maker is in talks with California-based Telsa Motors to build an automative battery plant in the U.S.

Also on the upside, Nintendo added 2.7%, Toshiba Corp. climbed 1.1% while Sumco Corp. edged up 0.8%.

On the other side, Sharp lost around a percent, Toyota Motor skidded 1.3% while Komatsu erased 1.5%.

In Hong Kong, property developers gained ground. Poly Property Group bounced over 4%, China Overseas Land & Investment rose 3.5% while China Resources Land gained 2.2%.

Energy firms and some globally focussed companies added to the gains.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. surged 4.1%, Sinopec Shanghai gained 2.3% while CNOOC added a modest 0.6%.

Among others, ports operator Cosco Pacific rallied over 2% while global fashion retailer Esprit Holdings enhanced 2%.

In Sydney, Worleyparsons Ltd. soared 10.6% after announcing results.

But Westfield Group lost 2.7% after the operator of shopping malls logged a modest decline in annual profits.

Among other notable movers, troubled surfwear retailer Billabong International plunged nearly 20% while Qantas Airways flew up nearly 3%. QBE Insurance Group extended gains, rallying 4.8% after reporting upbeat results yesterday.

In Mumbai, top gainers included Gail India up 3%, ITC up 2.1%, Mahindra & Mahindra up 2% while Dr. Reddys Lab, BHEL and Wipro climbed up in the range of 1% to 1.5%.