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Asian Shares End Mostly Higher Led By China

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Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday, with Chinese markets leading the surge as traders returned to their desks after the week-long "Golden Week" holidays. Trading activity remained light across the region due to holidays in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index jumped 25.44 points or 0.76 percent to finish at 3,374.38. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 128 points or 0.45 percent at 28,333 in late trade after survey data from IHS Markit showed China's private sector expanded at the weakest pace in three months in September.

The Caixin composite output index fell to 51.4 in September from 52.4 in August, driven by weaker increases in output at both manufacturing and services companies. Activity in the services sector expanded at its slowest levels in almost two years.

Australian shares rose, led by financials with the big four banks ending up between 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 28.60 points or 0.50 percent to finish at 5,739.30 after climbing over 1 percent on Friday. The broader All Ordinaries index finished up 27.70 points or 0.48 percent at 5,805.10.

Mining stocks closed broadly lower despite copper registering its largest weekly gain since late August. Gold miners Newcrest and Northern Star gained 1-2 percent as gold rebounded from two month lows.

Mantra Group soared 16.4 percent after it received an A$1.18 billion ($920 million) bid from France's AccorHotels. WorleyParsons shares entered a trading halt after the engineering group entered into a binding agreement to acquire AFW UK for an enterprise value of 182 million pounds or A$303 million.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 32.94 points or 0.41 percent to close above 8,000 for the first time as a weak kiwi dollar helped lift exporters such as A2 Milk Co and Xero. The New Zealand dollar hovered near a five-month low as electoral coalition talks continued in Wellington.

Elsewhere, benchmark indexes in India, Indonesia and Malaysia were up between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent while Singapore's Straits Times index was marginally lower.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed on Friday after the much-awaited jobs report showed an unexpected decrease in employment in September, reflecting the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

However, wage growth perked up and the jobless rate dropped to 4.2 percent, increasing the odds of a December Fed rate hike.

While the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1 percent to reach a fresh record closing high, the Dow and the S&P closed marginally lower.

by RTT Staff Writer

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