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Asia Stocks Edge Higher, Focus on US Jobs
Source: Reuters - 12/7/2012 8:05:00 AM
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Asian shares were higher on Friday, following modest overnight gains in global equities as investors watched progress in U.S. budget talks and awaited U.S. nonfarm payrolls data later in the day.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 rose 0.2 percent.

Japan's Nikkei share average held steady in early trade on Friday after closing above the key 9,500-mark for the first time in seven months in the previous session and ahead of U.S. jobs data.

The Nikkei was flat at 9,549.7 after entering "overbought" territory on Thursday while the broader Topix rose 1.2 percent to 789 points.

Japan Tobacco rallied 1 percent after it applied to sell an anti-HIV drug treatment in Japan, which would be the only once-daily single-tablet regimen in the country if approved by the Health Ministry.

Japan real estate asset manager Kenedix rose 1.1 percent after bringing in state-owned lender Development Bank of Japan and developer Tokyu Land as partners to develop a property in central Tokyo at a cost of 80 billion yen ($972 million).

South Korean shares rose on Friday, tracking modest gains on Wall Street as investors await U.S. employment data and hope for positive signs in budget talks.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 0.4 percent to 1,957.3 points.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics inched up in early trading, just above Wednesday's lifetime closing high, after a U.S. district court hearing began on a range of issues including rival Apple request to ban sales of some Samsung devices.

Australian shares rose 0.7 percent on Friday, tracking modest gains in global equities, with top miners supported by rebounding iron ore prices and banks recovering from losses in the previous session.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 33.7 points to 4,543.3 after slipping 0.3 percent on Thursday.

BHP Billiton climbed 0.9 percent and rival Rio Tinto added 0.6 percent. The nation's biggest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, rose 0.7 percent.

Investors are likely to watch out for Australia's October trade figures due Friday for further signs of economic growth.

Department store Myer Holdings gained 0.4 percent ahead of holding its annual general meeting on Thursday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged up 0.3 percent to 4,036.8.
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