(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks closed broadly higher for the second day running Friday as Chinese trade data beat expectations and the U.S. Congress passed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded until Dec. 22 and continue budget negotiations. Also, media reports suggested that Britain and Ireland were close to a Brexit deal.
The focus firmly remained on U.S. jobs figures for November due tonight, with economists expecting U.S. employment to increase by 200,000 jobs in November after surging up by 261,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.1 percent.
Chinese shares ended on a positive note after data from the General Administration of Customs showed the country's exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace in November.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index gained 17.94 points or 0.55 percent to close at 3,289.99 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 1.19 percent at 28,639 in late trade.
Japanese shares led regional gains as the yen weakened and data showed Japan's GDP grew an annual 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, revised up from a preliminary estimate of 1.4 percent growth.
Another report showed that Japan posted a current account surplus of 2.176 trillion yen in October - up 40.7 percent from last year.
The Nikkei average finished 313 points or 1.39 percent higher at 22,811.08 after posting a near 2 percent fall earlier this week. The broader Topix index closed 0.98 percent higher at 1,803.73.
Property developers, trading houses, automakers and technology shares led the gainers. Japan Display jumped as much as 8.4 percent on a Nikkei report that Apple may use liquid crystal technology on one of its models expected next year.
Australian shares finished modestly higher, led by financials and energy shares, helped by encouraging home loans data and a firm lead from Wall Street overnight.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 16.70 points or 0.28 percent to 5,994.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 16.60 points or 0.27 percent at 6,077.40.
Banks Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac rose between half a percent and 0.8 percent. Insurance Australia Group edged up 0.3 percent after the insurer struck deals with a trio of European reinsurers to share its premiums.
Energy stocks closed broadly higher in tandem with oil prices while mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto ended modestly lower.
South Korea's Kospi average finished marginally higher at 2,464, led by strong gains in the technology sector. Samsung Electronics rallied 2.5 percent and SK Hynix soared 3.6 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 62.49 points or 0.76 percent to 8,235.09, registering its fourth straight weekly gain. NZX, Xero and Z Energy all rose about 3 percent.
The total vole of manufacturing activity in New Zealand rose 0.3 percent sequentially in the third quarter of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said. That was down from the 1.0 percent jump in the second quarter.
Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was rising 0.2 percent while benchmark indexes in Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Singapore were up between 0.4 percent and 1 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks eked out modest gains amid tax reform optimism. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 0.3 percent each while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added half a percent.
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