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Nikkei Asia300 Index gains tracking record-high Wall Street

Energy producers rally as Brent crude hits $70 per barrel

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan advanced Friday, buoyed by Wall Street's record highs. Energy companies rose after Brent crude topped $70 a barrel mark.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index advanced 1% to 1,469.50 on Friday, helping the gauge clock a weekly advance of 0.6%, amid optimism over global economic growth.

Friday's gains on the A300 came following the overnight rally in U.S. stocks that powered all the three major indexes to record levels. The unexpected month-on-month decline in U.S. producer prices and the consequent decline in U.S. borrowing cost booted risk appetite. The more important consumer price inflation data is due after Asian market hours on Friday.

Another talking point overnight was the December meeting minutes of the European Central Bank. The common bloc currency jumped, and German bond yields rose after the ECB said it will review its forward guidance early this year, leading to speculation the bank will be unwinding its monetary stimulus.

In Asia, China's CNOOC, up 2.5%, led the advance among energy stocks. PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) added 0.9% and 1.9% each. Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production rose 2%.

Tata Consultancy Services dropped 0.6% in Mumbai after India's largest software company reported a 3.6% decline in net profit for the December quarter.

Lenovo Group advanced 0.2%. Research and advisory company Gartner said preliminary personal computer shipments by the Chinese major declined 0.7% in the December quarter. Gartner, however, said signs of optimism for the global PC market were emerging amid growth in shipments to Asia-Pacific, Japan, and Latin America last quarter.

Malaysia's Top Glove rose 3.5%. On Friday, the company said it agreed to buy medical gloves maker Aspion Group for 1.37 billion ringgit ($345 million).

In economic data, Singapore retail sales rose 5.3% on year in November, primarily due to a rise in sales at petrol service stations and supermarkets.

In country indexes compiled by Nikkei, China added 1.9%, Taiwan rose 1%, and South Korea gained 0.7%. Hong Kong climbed 0.8%, and India advanced 0.2%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies rose 0.5%.

--Nimesh Vora

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