Asian stocks gain after Chinese assurances over slowdown


Asian markets advanced Monday, lifted by Chinese benchmarks after officials put a positive spin on the country’s slowing economy.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite index jumped 4.2 percent to 2,656.65 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong surged 2.2 percent to 26,123.24. Japan‘s Nikkei 225 index reversed early losses, gaining 0.4 percent to 22,614.82 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.1 percent to 2,158.81. Australia‘s S&P-ASX 200 countered the trend, shedding 0.6 percent to 5,904.90. Shares rose in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines but were flat in Indonesia.

WALL STREET: Better-than-expected earnings reports by companies such as Procter & Gamble, American Express and PayPal gave U.S. indexes an early lift on Friday. But the momentum was lost when data showed that U.S. home sales fell for the sixth month in a row. The S&P 500 index was less than 0.1 percent lower at 2,767.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.3 percent higher at 25,444.34, while the Nasdaq composite fell 0.5 percent to 7,449.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks tumbled 1.2 percent to 1,542.04, its lowest in almost six months, partly because of worries over rising interest rates.

CHINESE GROWTH: The Chinese economy grew at a 6.5 percent annual pace, its slowest since 2009, in the quarter ending in September. Officials quickly moved to calm nerves surrounding growth that was softening even before Washington raised tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods. The Chinese stock market has sagged 30 percent since January. China’s economic czar, Vice Premier Liu He, said the decline was “creating good investment opportunities.”

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Official voices pledging their support has helped to calm Chinese markets. Some investors are bargain hunting on the basis that there will be limited downsides,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking. “There has also been a hint of state support in the aftermath, with state-linked funds coming to buy weakening markets, giving investors reason to believe that the markets would stabilize,” he added.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 50 cents to $69.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 0.7 percent to $69.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 33 cents to $80.11 per barrel. In the previous session, it gained 0.6 percent to $79.78 a barrel.

CURRENCY: The dollar strengthened to 112.72 yen from 112.56 yen on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1533 from $1.1516.

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