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Global shares edge higher on Chinese support measures

Edging back towards a three week high, Asian shares reversed losses on Monday (February 17) thanks to further efforts from Beijing to cushion the blow from a coronavirus outbreak.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.3%.

China's blue-chip index jumped 2% after the country's central bank lowered one of its key interest rates and injected more liquidity into the system.

Beijing also announced plans to roll out targeted and phased tax and fee cuts.

Fears about the jolt to the world economy still lingered though.

Restrictions were tightened further in China's worst affected province, with most vehicles banned from the roads and companies told to stay shut until further notice.

Japanese stocks faltered.

The Nikkei stumbled 0.7% after the country's economy shrank at the fastest pace in almost six years in the December quarter.

The hit to the world's third-largest economy comes as the coronavirus damages output and tourism, stoking fears Japan may slump into a recession.

In Europe, sentiment was up following Beijing's support measures.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% in early trade.

But given so many European companies depend on China as part of their supply chain, local markets are expected to trade cautiously as they await concrete news on whether the outbreak will dent China's long-term growth outlook.