Asian stocks ended higher as investors went bargain hunting following strong domestic data after recent selling, however, Nikkei fell as caution prevails ahead of Friday`s US jobs report and today's monetary policy decisions from the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE). Chinese markets remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday; New Zealand markets are also closed for holiday. - The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4% to 131.60 as of 14:45 in Hong Kong In Japan stocks fell amid caution over domestic earnings and before the US jobs report although the central bank deputy governor Kikuo Iwata said the economy was strong enough to withstand April`s sales tax hike. - Nikkei 225 closed 0.18% lower at 14155.12 - Topix closed 0.02% lower at 1162.37 - Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.72% higher at 21423.13 In Australia the benchmark index snapped three days of losses to post its biggest one-day gain in 3 weeks following positive economic data. The country's trade surplus came in at $468 million Australian dollars in December although markets expected a deficit, while retail sales beat estimates. - The S&P/ASX 200 closed 1.20% higher at 5131.40 In South Korea stocks rose for a second straight session, closing at their highest levels in over a week after data showed foreign net investment in domestic bonds rose in January for the first time in six months. - Kospi closed 0.88% higher at 1907.89
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