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Asian stocks gain modestly after US bounce
Asian stocks gain modestly after Wall Street bounce as investors await China growth data
By The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) ' Asian stocks made modest gains on Thursday following a rebound on Wall Street and ahead of China's latest economic growth figures.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent to 9,470.66. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent to 20,156.07 while in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained less than 0.1 percent to 2,309.95.

Seoul's Kospi dropped 0.9 percent to 1,975.39. Benchmark indexes rose in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore but fell in Taiwan.

Asian stocks got a small bump after U.S. stocks ended their biggest and longest losing streak this year with a sharp bounce following an unexpected first-quarter profit from aluminum giant Alcoa.

But gains were held in check as investors looked ahead to the release of China's first quarter economic growth figures on Friday, which are expected to confirm a slowdown this year. China's government earlier this year cut its growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent from the 8 percent level in place since 2005.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.7 percent to 12,805.39 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.7 percent to 1,368.71. The Nasdaq advanced 0.8 percent to 3,016.46.

In currency markets, the euro strengthened to $1.3127 from $1.3099 in late trading Wednesday. The dollar rose slightly to 80.93 Japanese yen from 80.92 yen.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 30 cents to $102.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose by $1.68 to finish at $102.70 on Wednesday.

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