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Asian Shares Up Following Good News in China, US

A pedestrian is reflected on a stock quotation board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 8, 2013.
Asian markets finished strong Wednesday, following the release of unexpectedly positive Chinese trade data and a record day on Wall Street.

Hong Kong shares ended nearly nine-tenths of a percent higher, while Tokyo closed up by about three-quarters of a percent. Overall, the MSCI Asia-Pacific stock index was up eight-tenths of a percent, close to a five-year high.

The surge came after China posted better-than-expected export and import growth, prompting cautious optimism about Beijing's economic recovery. Official data showed a $18.2 billion trade surplus in April. Exports increased 14.7 percent, while imports jumped 16.8 percent. Both figures were higher than most economists had predicted.

Meanwhile, the best-known U.S. stock market index closed at a record high Tuesday, the first time the Dow Jones Industrial Average has ended the day's trading above 15,000.

Investors in the United States, Europe and Japan have been encouraged by a strong U.S. employment report Friday which reduced worries about economic growth. That growing confidence helped push the Dow to 15,056. The S&P 500 also hit a record close of 1,625.