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Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday as investors collected gains from previous session’s record highs, with China presenting better-than-expected data results for the fourth quarter.  

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.1 percent to $595.44, after climbing a record peak of 0.4 percent.

Tokyo’s benchmark, Nikkei 225, hit its highest level since late 1991 earlier before losing 0.4 percent to ¥23,763.37. The index added more than 3 percent so far this year. Japan’s TOPIX declined 0.7 percent to ¥1,876.86.

South Korea’s KOSPI extended gains by 0.02 percent to ₩2,515.81, after electronics maker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. undo losses by raising 1.5 percent in the previous session. Shares of the company closed up 0.5 percent higher to ₩2,495,000 on Thursday.

Over Australia, S&P/ASX 200 extended it current losing streak and was down 0.02 percent to A$6,014.60, while India’s BSE Sensex added 0.4 percent to ₹35,251.59.

China Q4 Economic Data Beats Forecasts

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Following China’s data results, positive market sentiment was seen in greater and mainland market, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng raising 0.4 percent to HK$32,126 and the Shanghai Composite edged higher by 0.8 percent higher to CN¥3,474.75.

Upbeat economic figures have helped mainland stock to close at their highest level in two years on Thursday.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China presented after the market close an economic growth of 6.9 percent in 2017, surpassing government target of 6.5 percent and showed a quickening from the 2016 increase of 6.7 percent, which was its slowest pace in 26 years.  

The world’s second-largest economy has long been trying to contain a volatile build-up in debt, in an effort to level economic stability against the potential impacts of any sharp slowdown.  

China’s GDP rose to 6.8 percent in the quarter, beating analysts’ estimate of 6.7 percent. The statistics bureau said that GDP in the fourth quarter gained 1.6 percent on a quarterly basis, against the revised growth of 1.8 percent in the July-September period.

Other figures released ended mixed, with retail sales in December adding 9.4 percent, missing forecast of 10.1 percent, while production in industrial sector topped expectations.  

The annual boost in expansion came as the government increases its crackdown on risky investment and high leverage ratio, as well as its push to fight pollution.   

Growth of fixed asset investment, which was mostly government-directed, dropped to its slowest pace since 1999 at 7.2 percent a year earlier.

Economist Sian Fenner believed that a strong external demand and robust household consumption will help boost China’s economy in 2018.

Fenner also expects real estate in the country to have a sluggish performance this year, although low inventories will hinder the sector from a major slowdown.

Investment in China is likely to continue to slow as well, as it attempts to rebalance away from investment with monetary tightening and policies for ensuring that financial risks are also lessened.

Economist Li Huiyong stated that the downward trend was clear and they expect investments to struggle in 2018, but they are quite optimistic on consumption and exports.

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