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Shares in Asia gain in limited trade as China, othr markets shut for hol - - Shares in Asia gained on Friday in thin trade with several markets shut, including China, to mark the Lunar New Year holidays and investors looking ahead to fourth quarter GDP from the U.S.and the now largely xpected stream of statements from the Trump administration as it attempts to find its message footing on topics from economics to national security.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.37% and the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.68% supported by strong gains in its financials sub-index, which was up 1.25%.

In Asia, Japan reported national core CPI rose 0.2% year-on-year in December, below the expected 0.3% pace, while in Australia, figures on PPI showed a 0.5% gain in the fourth quarter, higher than the 0.2% rise seen.

China, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea will be shut for public holidays today, while Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong will have a half-day bank holiday. China is starting a week-long holiday on Friday that extends through Feb. 2 next week.

Overnight, bets that the combination of tax cuts and tough trade policies by President Donald Trump would lift growth supported shares.

At the same time, A social media war of words between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto over the proposed border wall caused a canceled a meeting with President Donald Trump and led to the dollar moving higher against the Mexican peso. In Asia, USD/MXN was quoted up 0.59% to 21.3347.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Commerce Department said new home sales sank by 10.4% to 536,000 units last month, compared to expectations for a 1.0% drop to 588,000 units.

The report came after the U.S. Department of Labor said that initial jobless claims increased by 22,000 in the week ending January 21 to 259,000 from the previous week's total of 237,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 13,000 last week.

Investors remained cautious after Trump on Wednesday ordered construction of a U.S.-Mexican border wall and punishment for cities shielding illegal immigrants.

In addition, Trump was expected to sign an executive order in the coming days to block the entry of refugees from Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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