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U.S. markets closed higher on Wednesday for a third day fuelled by rising energy shares as crude rallied and the prospect of further stimulus from the ECB. The U.S. Commerce Department released the housing market data on Wednesday. Housing starts in the U.S. rose 4.4% to 1.089 million annualized rate in December from a 1.043 million pace in November, beating expectations for a decrease to 1.040 million. November's figure was revised up from 1.028 million units. The DOW JONES index added +0.22%, closing at 17,554.28. The S&P 500 added +0.47% with a final quote of 2,032.12 points, rising over 2% in the last 3 days.
Chinese stock markets continued to rise. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading +0.72% at 24,528.04 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,344.4 points +0.63%, after yesterday's biggest one-day rise since 2009 with +4.74%.
Japan's Nikkei added gains on Thursday, closing +0.28% with a final quote of 17,329.02. A weaker Japanese yen after surging the previous day lend support to exporter shares. Yesterday the Bank of Japan kept its target for the monetary base unchanged after its bond-buying program started in October and cut its inflation forecast for 2015 from 1.7% to 1%.
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