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Asian stocks track Wall Street gains on upbeat US economic report; Shanghai up for 2nd day

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HONG KONG — Asian stocks rose Friday as upbeat U.S. economic data lifted investors' spirits following days of stomach-churning turbulence sparked by a heavy sell-off in China.

Regional markets took their lead from Wall Street, where benchmarks had a strong finish after a government report showed the U.S. second quarter economic growth was much stronger than initially estimated. That gave added encouragement to investors seeking out bargains in beaten-down shares.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index led regional gains, adding 2.5 percent to 19,020.35 after lackluster monthly data on inflation and household spending raised hopes of further stimulus.

The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rose 1.2 percent to 3,120.25, adding to its 5.3 percent gain Thursday, which was its first increase in six days, during which it shed nearly 23 percent.

South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.4 percent to 1,933.98 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9 percent to 22,042.26. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,243.40.

"After another strong market open, investors are starting to wonder what the recent sell-off was all about," Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, Australia, wrote in a commentary. "Another day of strong buying looks likely as investors scramble to take advantage of what looks like a value opportunity before it closes down."

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.3 percent to 16,654.77, recouping nearly half of its losses over the past two days following a sharp six-day slump. The S&P 500 index gained 2.4 percent to 1,987.66 and the Nasdaq composite rose 2.5 percent to 4,812.71.

The dollar slipped to 121.11 yen from 121.12 in late trading Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.1261 from $1.1242.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil extended gains, rising 51 cents to $43.07 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in six years, leaping $3.96, or 10.3 percent, to $42.56 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils imported by U.S. refineries, rose 19 cents to $47.75 in London.

PHOTO: A passer-by is silhouetted in front of a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. China's main stock market index has surged 5.3 percent, its biggest gain in eight weeks, as Asian markets rose following Wall Street's overnight rebound. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A passer-by is silhouetted in front of a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. China's main stock market index has surged 5.3 percent, its biggest gain in eight weeks, as Asian markets rose following Wall Street's overnight rebound. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

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PHOTO: Trader Fred DeMarco works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. U.S. stocks closed sharply higher after China's main stock index logged its biggest gain in eight weeks.  The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 369.26 points, or 2. 3 percent, to 16,654.77. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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