Sydney — Asian markets were ending 2017 in a party mood on Friday after a year in which a concerted pick-up in global growth boosted corporate profits and commodity prices, while benign inflation kept central banks from snatching away the monetary punch bowl. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.3% as three straight weeks of gains left it within a whisker of decade peaks. The index has been on an upward trajectory for pretty much all of 2017, putting it 33% higher for the year so far. Hong Kong led the charge with gains of 36% for the year, while South Korea notched up 22% and India 27%. Japan’s Nikkei and the S&P 500 are both ahead by almost 20%, while the Dow has risen by a quarter. In Europe, the German DAX has gained nearly 14%, though the UK FTSE has lagged a little with a rise of 7%. Craig James, chief economist at fund manager CommSec, said of the 73 bourses it tracks globally, all but nine have recorded gains in local currency terms this yea...

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