TOKYO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday as investors shrugged off weak trade data amid brightening sentiment and growing expectations that the Bank of Japan may undertake further easing at its policy meeting on October 30.
The Nikkei share average gained 1.9 percent to close at 18,554.28.
Traders said sectors with significant exposure to China were responding positively to supply-side priming following the release of data showing China's GDP growth had fallen below 7 percent for the first time since the financial crisis. The machinery sector gained 3.2 percent while construction added 1.6 percent.
Sentiment was also helped, market participants said, by data that showed rising auto sales in China and by a very strong National Association of Home Builders housing market index in the United States.
The monthly survey, published on Monday, showed that homebuilders' confidence is the highest its been in 10 years, a sign that that housing market may be strong enough to withstand an interest-rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The benchmark Nikkei index was also buoyed by a steadily weakening yen, which crossed into the 120 range to leave behind the strength it showed last week.
The broader Topix gained 1.8 percent to close at 1,526.81 with all 33 of its subindexes in positive territory.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 1.8 percent to 13,675.72. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)