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Asian Shares Close Mixed Following Mixed Chinese Data


Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday after official data showed Chinese GDP growth slowed to 6.2 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, its weakest pace in at least 27 years amid a prolonged trade war with the United States. The Japanese markets were closed for the Marine Day holiday.

Chinese factory output and retail sales figures offered signs of improvement, helping limit the downside across the region.

Annual industrial production growth advanced more than expected to 6.3 percent in June from 5 percent in May, showing the fastest growth in three months.

Likewise, retail sales grew at a faster pace of 9.8 percent after rising 8.6 percent a month ago. Economists had forecast an 8.5 percent increase for June.

Year-to-date fixed asset investment increased 5.8 percent compared to the 5.6 percent expansion in the January to May period, while property investment logged double-digit growth of 10.9 percent during the January to June period.

China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 11.64 points or 0.4 percent to finish at 2,942.19 after reports the U.S. may start approving licenses to certain companies to start selling specific Huawei products in the next two or three weeks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 83.26 points or 0.3 percent to 28,554.88.

Meanwhile, Australian markets ended off their day's lows on expectations that Beijing will continue to roll out more support measures in coming months.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended down 43.50 points or 0.7 percent at 6,653, while the broader All Ordinaries Index dropped 42.60 points or 0.6 percent to 6,746.20.

Financials fell, with the big four banks ending down between half a percent and 1 percent. Wealth manager AMP slumped 15.8 percent after scrapping its interim dividend and saying the $3.3 billion sale of its life insurance arm to a foreign buyer was unlikely to proceed.

Mining giant Rio Tinto rose 0.4 percent and smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group advanced 0.7 percent after iron ore prices clocked their best week in three on supply concerns.

Seoul stocks fell after the release of the mixed Chinese data and uncertainties over a trade dispute with Japan. The benchmark Kospi dipped 4.18 points or 0.2 percent to 2,082.48, snapping a three-day winning streak.

Automaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.1 percent and Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, shed 1.7 percent, while chipmaker SK Hynix rallied 2 percent.

New Zealand shares also ended lower, with telecom and healthcare stocks pacing the declines. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 34.87 points or 0.3 percent to 10,666.56.

The services sector in New Zealand continued to expand in June, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed today with a Performance of Services Index score of 52.7, down from 53.5 in May.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday to hit fresh record closing highs on optimism the Fed will soon cut its benchmark interest rate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 added half a percent to close above 3,000 for the first time.

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