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Australian markets were leading Asian shares in early trade on Thursday with Sydney's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 up more than 1%, helped up by banking shares.

Analysts said that while other markets were trading sideways, money was rotating back into the country's banks as investors looked for income.

"The big four banks are flying today," IG Markets' Chris Weston told the BBC.

Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia - the country's biggest lender - were up 1.77%.

National Australia Bank and Westpac had lost some earlier gains by mid morning but were still up about 1.5%, while ANZ was up 0.77%.

"When there's sideways trading in many global markets - traders want to be paid to be in a position and so we tend to see moves into the banks for yield," Mr Weston said.

"There are some risks because of the housing market, which is starting to show some vulnerability, but at the moment, bank shares are the best way to pick up yield."

The so-called big four lenders make up some 30% of Australia's stock market and are regarded as highly profitable. They came through the financial crisis relatively unscathed.

The S&P/ASX 200 slipped slightly to be up 0.8% by mid morning after some disappointing business investment numbers were released.

Thursday's numbers showed investment falling 9.2% for the three months to September to $31.4bn Australian dollars ($22.7bn; £15.01bn).
Elsewhere in Asia

Investors around the rest of the region seemed to have shrugged off international tension over the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index up 0.6% at 19,965.29.

Shares in car making giant Toyota were up 0.76% in Japanese trade despite saying on Wednesday it was recalling another 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty air bags.

The Japanese car maker has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles fitted with the bags since 2013.

In China, Hong Kong's index was up 0.9% at 22,714.70 while the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.15% at 3,652.78.

South Korea's Kospi index was up 0.96% at 2,027.15.