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Asian shares creep higher on US growth data

Asian shares creep higher on US growth data

Asian markets gained on Monday in morning trade in response to faster-than-estimated economic growth in the US and after the International Monetary Fund said it’s raising its outlook for the world’s largest economy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index climbed 0.4% to 461 as of 9:40 a.m. in Hong Kong. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.3%, with trading volume 27% below its 30-day average for the time of day. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.6%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.2% and Taiwan’s Taiex Index added 0.7%.

Shares advanced after data showed the rate of US growth in the third quarter was faster than previously estimated as consumers increased spending on services such as health care and companies invested more in software.

Gross domestic product climbed at a 4.1% annualised rate, the strongest since the final three months of 2011 and up from a previous estimate of 3.6%, Commerce Department figures showed 20 December.

Meanwhile, the IMF said that it is raising its outlook for the US economy, as a budget deal in Washington and the Federal Reserve’s plan to taper its bond buying ease doubts about the future.

In corporate news, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Korea’s second-largest shipping company, surged 15% in Seoul after Hyundai Group said it plans to offload assets including financial units and its hotel business for at least 3.3 trillion won ($3.1 billion).

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. advanced 3.7% in Sydney after a managing director of its Star casino resigned.

China Mobile Ltd. added 1.1% in Hong Kong after striking a deal with Apple Inc. to sell the iPhone in the world’s largest wireless market.

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