Asian Stocks Mostly Higher

Asian markets were mostly higher Thursday with the exception of Japan’s Nikkei Average, which erased earlier gains. Chinese indexes got a boost from news that the economy expanded at a robust 6.9 percent annual pace in 2017.

Hong Kong stocks added 0.4 percent to 32,121.94 for another record high while Japan’s Nikkei Average lost 0.4 percent to finish at 23,763.37 after earlier topping 24,000 for the first time since November 1991.

China's Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.87 percent to 3,474.75

Bank stocks in China gained after data showed housing prices increased last month in 57 of 70 cities measured by the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s economic growth accelerated for the first time in seven years in 2017, data said Thursday, confounding expectations among economists that efforts to cut corporate indebtedness, cool the property market and curb pollution would slow growth.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded at a steady pace in the last three months of 2017 to bring overall growth for the year to 6.9%, up from 6.7% in 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The annual growth rate was in line with a figure flagged by Premier Li Keqiang earlier this month and well above Beijing’s 6.5% target for 2017.

Elsewhere:

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 6,014.60.

On the economic front, Australia's inflationary expectations remained unchanged in January, survey data from the Melbourne Institute showed while employment figures for December jumped past expectations.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index dropped 25 points or 0.30 percent to finish at 8,272.67.

South Korea's Kospi inched up less than 0.1 percent to 2,515.81.

Taiwan’s Taiex benchmark rose 0.6%, hitting a 28-year high.

India's Sensex climbed 0.9 percent to 35,393.88.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite was down 0.3 percent.

Singapore's Straits Times index was declining 0.4 percent.