Asian stocks meander after China growth slows less than expected



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TOKYO — Asian stock markets shrugged off China's weakest economic growth in five years, finding a silver lining in the fact it didn't slow as much as feared.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.4 percent at 1,219.29 after soaring 4 percent Monday on expectations of government pension fund buying of shares. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent at 23,215.64 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.2 percent to 2,360.94. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,332.90 while Seoul's Kospi dropped 0.6 percent to 1,919.33.

CHINA GROWTH: The world's second biggest economy expanded 7.3 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, slowing from 7.5 percent in the previous quarter. Markets found solace in the fact growth was slightly better than the 7.2 percent rate many analysts had forecast. The modest drop in the growth rate is unlikely to convince China's leaders they should launch a massive stimulus effort after introducing targeted measures earlier in the year.

THE QUOTE: "While analysts are already widely anticipating slower growth in Q3, the simultaneous release of retail sales, industrial output and fixed asset investment will likely give us more insight into which sectors are concerning" in China, said CMC Markets analyst Desmond Chua.

WALL STREET: Shares were higher in quiet trading by investors rattled by last week's white-knuckle turbulence. The Dow rose 19.26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,399.67 and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 17.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,904.01. The Nasdaq composite gained 57.64 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,316.07.

ENERGY: The recent plunge in oil prices is sharpening concerns over the global economy but energy trading was relatively subdued Tuesday. Benchmark U.S. crude fell was up 14 cents to $82.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.2801 from $1.2795 late Monday. The dollar dropped to 106.78 yen from 106.95 yen.

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