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Asia Stocks Rise On Heels Of New Dow Record High

The General Administration of Customs said export growth slowed to 10 percent from the previous two-month period's 23.6 percent. However, Francis Lun, chief economist of GE Oriental Financial Group in Hong Kong, said the actual figure was probably closer to 2 to 3 percent but was inflated by exporters seeking government rebates.

"Exports on the surface look good. But there are many people casting doubt on the accuracy of these figures," Lun said.

Japanese heavy industrial shares posted strong gains. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. jumped 7.3 percent. Kobe Steel rose 6.8 percent. Cosmo Oil soared 11.1 percent.

Australian surf wear retailer Billabong International dived nearly 27 percent amid disappointment at its moves toward a $287 million takeover deal that is half of what was offered last December.

Apart from the Fed minutes, U.S. corporate earnings will draw attention later in the week. Banks Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are among the blue chips scheduled to issue reports.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 13 cents to $94.09 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 84 cents to finish at $94.20 a barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currencies, the euro rose slightly to $1.3100 from $1.3099 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 99.41 yen from 99.28 yen.

___

Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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