Asian equity markets ended mixed on Thursday as upbeat US data coupled with Fed Chair Janet Yellen's hawkish tone in her latest remarks on Capitol Hill helped spur expectations of a faster pace of Fed rate-hike in 2017. US retail sales rose more than expected in January and consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in nearly four years, boosting prospects of an interest rate hike as early as March. Chinese stocks ended up as higher commodity prices and media reports of a pick-up in spending on railways and other infrastructure this year boosted material stocks. Meanwhile, Japanese shares retreated as the dollar slipped against rivals, including the Japanese yen.
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