Asia shares up on positive US data

Frances colour

Asian shares were mostly higher following upbeat US economic data showed strength in the world’s largest economy.

US weekly jobless claims fell, factory activity in its mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades and existing home sales strengthened.

Japan’s index, the Nikkei, closed up after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament in preparation for an election.

In Greater China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was also up 0.6% at 23,483.07, while the Shanghai Composite on the mainland was 1.4% higher at 2,487.12.

In Australia, shares closed at a five-week low on concerns over slumping iron ore prices and future demand.

Finally South Korean shares closed higher after data showed that exports rose 3.6% in November compared with a year ago, while imports fell 3.1% in the same period.