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Asian markets rise in post-Christmas trading

Shares in Japan, China and India posted strong gains on Boxing Day as stock exchanges in Europe remained closed and Wall Street is fixated on “fiscal cliff” developments.

Tokyo stocks staged yet another robust gain with the benchmark Nikkei closing at a nine-month high amid continuing expectations for policy steps to spur growth under a new Japanese administration.

The Nikkei Stock Average gained 1.5% to 10230.36, its highest close since March 27, on top of Christmas Day's 1.4% rise. The index closed at the highest level since March 27.

Trading volume was heavy at 2.8 billion shares in a sign that many participants, including domestic institutional investors, had returned to the market, traders said.

A weaker yen helped push up exporters, such as TDK and Toyota, while financial stocks rose amid expectations for lower borrowing costs under the Bank of Japan's new lending programme.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2% to 2219.13, its highest level since July. The index crossed into positive territory for the year on Christmas Day when it surged 2.5%.

In India, the Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-stock Sensitive Index closed at 19,417.46, up 162.37 points, or 0.8% – its highest percentage gain this month.

The index had declined 1.1% in the previous three sessions.