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Asian Shares Rise After IMF Raises Outlook, BOJ Holds Rates Steady

Asian stocks rose after the IMF raised slightly its global growth outlook and the Bank of Japan held rates steady, as expected.

The IMF raised its global economic growth forecast slightly to 3.7% in 2014, from 3.6% in October.

The BOJ left monetary policy steady, as expected. Its view remained more or less the same, with some tweaking on its growth forecast. The policy board now expects a median economic growth forecast of 1.4% for fiscal 2014, compared to October's median projection of 1.5%.

In other parts of the region, Australia's CPI rose 0.8% in Q4, or 2.7% from a year earlier. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast on average a quarterly rise of 0.5%.

Thailand's central bank unexpectedly held steady its key interest rate, even after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra declared a state of emergency in Bangkok to control anti-government protests that have crimped economic growth.

In ADR news, BHP Billiton's ( BHP ) iron-ore and petroleum output missed analyst estimates. It reported a 16% rise in iron ore output for the three months through December.

The Nikkei ended up 0.16% at 15,820.96, the Hang Seng up 0.21% at 23,082.25 and Shanghai up 2.16% at 2,051.75.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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