Japanese shares end five-day losing streak

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It was a mixed picture for Asian shares at the start of a week shortened by holidays, amid quiet trade as Japanese shares ended a five-day losing streak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.6% to 18,873.35 despite economic data painting a gloomier picture of the world's third-largest economy.

Figures showed Japan's factory output fell 1% in November from the previous month, the first drop in three months.

Retail sales also fell below forecasts and declined 1% from a year ago.

Japan's economy narrowly avoided a recession in the third quarter and economists are expecting only modest growth in the current one.

Shares of Sharp, however, were up 7.3% on reports that the struggling consumer electronics firm had received a purchase offer from Taiwan's electronics supplier Hon Hai Precision.

Rest of Asia down

Chinese shares were lower, with the Shanghai Composite ending the day down 2.6% at 3,533.78, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 1% lower at 21,919.62.

Economic data released on Sunday showed that profits earned by Chinese industrial firms in November fell 1.4% from a year ago, marking the sixth month of declines.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Telecom also fell 1.6% after the country's anti-corruption watchdog said it was investigating its chairman, Chang Xiaobing.

In South Korea, the Kospi index ended down 1.3% at 1,964.06 points.

The Australian market was closed for a public holiday.

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