Asian markets advance after boost to US tech stocks

Asian shares have been given a boost after US technology stocks led a better performance on Wall Street.

Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank, enjoyed a strong rise in the wake of a solid earnings report from Chinese affiliate Alibaba.

Official data showed the Chinese economy grew at the slowest rate for 18 months in the first quarter of 2014. However, at 7.4 per cent, growth was better than the Bloomberg consensus of 7.3 per cent. The data also showed a rebound in fixed asset investment growth and industrial production for the month of March.

London-based consultancy Capital Economics, believe Chinese policy makers are relatively relaxed about the current pace of growth. Premier Li Keqiang has already ruled out major stimulus measures and is unlikely to change stance after today's figures. The labour market appears to be in relatively good shape, with wage growth again outstripping output growth.

Japan's Nikkei is enjoying a rise of 2.4 per cent, while the Topix is also seeing strong gains of two per cent. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index is up 0.6 per cent, while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index has so far added 0.2 per cent. South Korea's Kospi has advanced 0.1 per cent.

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