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Most Asian stock indices closed higher due to yesterday's strong U.S. housing market data. Housing starts in the U.S. jumped 15.7% to 1.093 million units in July from 945,000 units in June. That was the strongest rate since November.
The number of building permits rose by 8.1% to 1.052 million units in July from 973,000 in June.
Japan's adjusted trade deficit declined to 1,023.8 billion yen in July from a deficit of 1,067.8 in June, missing expectations for a fall to a deficit of 770 billion yen. June's figure was revised up from a deficit of 1,080.8 billion yen.
Japan's all industry activity index fell 0.4% in June, missing expectations for a 0.2% decline, after a 0.6% increase in May.
BHP Billiton Ltd. shares dropped 3.9% after announcing a spinoff and refraining from a share buyback.
Indexes on the close:
Nikkei 225 15,454.45 +4.66 +0.03%
Hang Seng 25,159.76 +36.81 +0.15%
Shanghai Composite 2,240.21 -5.12 -0.23%