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Asian Markets Had Strong, If Volatile, Year

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Asian stock markets had a strong, if volatile, year with China leading the pack as investors bet on the region's continued growth prospects.

Several exchanges notched gains of more than 20 percent and among Asia's major markets, only Japan and New Zealand ended the year with losses.

But the outlook for 2008 remained clouded by soaring oil prices, accelerating inflation in both China and India, and above all, the health of the U.S. economy.