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Asian Markets Mostly Higher


Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday following the gains on Wall Street Friday and as data showed that China's second-quarter GDP grew slightly more than expected. The Japanese market is closed for a holiday.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that China's gross domestic product expanded 6.9 percent on year in the second quarter of 2017. That was unchanged from the previous quarter, and it exceeded expectations for a rise of 6.8 percent.

The Australian market is edging lower despite Friday's gains on Wall Street as weakness among the major banks more than offset gains by mining and oil stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 7.10 points or 0.12 percent to 5,758.00, off a low of 5,745.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is losing 5.90 points or 0.10 percent to 5,802.80.

In the banking space, Commonwealth Bank is edging down less than 0.1 percent, while National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent.

Among oil stocks, Santos is rising 1 percent, Oil Search is edging up almost 0.1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.3 percent after crude oil prices extended gains on Friday.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton is adding 0.5 percent, Rio Tinto is up almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is rising almost 2 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is adding 0.6 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent after gold prices rose Friday.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar retained most of its gains after rising to a fifteen-month high Friday. In early trades Monday, the local unit was trading at US$0.7821, up from US$0.7749 on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are all higher, while Shanghai is lower. The Japanese stock market is closed for the Marine Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reaching new record closing highs. The strength on Wall Street came following several key economic reports, with the data suggesting that the Federal Reserve will not hurry to raise interest rates.

The Dow rose 84.65 points or 0.4 percent to 21,637.74, while the NASDAQ advanced 38.03 points or 0.6 percent to 6,312.47 and the S&P gained 11.44 points or 0.5 percent to 2,459.27.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices continued to rally Friday on a weaker U.S. dollar and the outlook for interest rates. August WTI crude rose $0.46 or 1 percent to $46.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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