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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks climb after China reports better-than-expected GDP

Foxconn extends gains after chairman says to join presidential race

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan rose on Wednesday, as sentiment improved after China reported better-than-expected economic growth data.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.3% to 1,379.07. Data released Wednesday showed China's economy grew by a better-than-expected 6.4% during the first quarter. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting a 6.3% reading.

Separately, China's industrial production increased a wider-than-expected 8.5% in March, while retail sales also beat estimates to jump 8.7%. The readings follow a spate of upbeat macro-economic data out of China in recent days, including better-than-expected export numbers.

"Overall, this confirms that China's economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue going into months ahead with recent surge in credit growth and a possible agreement between the U.S. and China on trade issues," Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia Pacific at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, wrote in a note.

Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, added 2.1% in Taipei, rising for an eighth consecutive day. Terry Gou, the company's chairman, on Wednesday said he will contest Taiwan's 2020 presidential election.

Chinese automakers jumped on Wednesday amid speculation that the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) has published a consultative paper to stimulate demand for automobiles. An NDRC spokeswoman declined to confirm the paper had been issued.

Guangzhou Automobile Group jumped 10.1% in Hong Kong, while Dongfeng Motor Group rose 6.2% and electric carmaker BYD surged 13.7%.

Cathay Pacific Airways edged 0.1% lower. The Hong Kong-based airline on Tuesday reported a 2.5% increase in passengers carried during March.

China Eastern Airlines added 1.2% after saying passengers it carried rose 5.4% last month.

Singapore Press Holdings ended 0.4% higher after the newspaper publisher announced acquisition of a portfolio of purpose-built student accommodation assets in the U.K. for about 133.7 million pounds ($174.76 million).

Singapore conglomerate Keppel rose 2.2% after saying its units received final approval for conversion of Gimi Floating Liquefaction Vessel project, a contract worth $947 million.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp added 0.3% in Singapore. The lender is seeking a Chinese company to team up with on a securities joint venture in the mainland, Bloomberg reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Samuel Tsien.

Data from trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed the city-state's non-oil domestic exports declined 11.7% in March from a year ago, hurt by steep drops in the shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals. The fall was the sharpest in two-and-a-half years and wider than the 2.1% drop economists polled by Reuters were expecting.

Financial markets in India were closed for a local holiday.

--Amy Lam and Benny Kung

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