Asia shares climb, after upbeat China PMI reading, Tokyo stocks up 0.36%

Asia shares climb, after upbeat China PMI reading, Tokyo stocks up 0.36%

Monday, June 23, 2014 4:08 am

HONG KONG- Asian shares rallied Monday morning after preliminary data suggested Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in June for the first time this year.

The early figures from banking giant HSBC added to an upbeat morning for the region, which was already in positive territory after another record close on Wall Street.asia_stocks

Tokyo extended a recent uptrend, gaining by 0.36 percent on Monday morning, buoyed by a weaker yen and record-setting advances on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 index added 55.74 points to 15,405.16 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.06 percent, or 0.82 points, to 1,269.74.

Sydney gained 0.58 percent and Seoul was 0.22 percent higher, while Hong Kong put on 0.12 percent and Shanghai was up 0.10 percent.

HSBC said its early results showed its purchasing managers index (PMI) of Chinese manufacturing came in at 50.8 this month, up from a final reading of 49.4 in May.

Anything above 50 points to growth and anything below suggests contraction.

The latest figure is the first time the reading has come in above 50 since December’s 50.5, and will raise hopes that a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy has bottomed out. It also follows a recent spate of data indicating a pick-up in the Asian economic giant after the government introduced some measures to kickstart growth.

“This month’s improvement is consistent with data suggesting that the authorities’ mini-stimulus are filtering through to the real economy,” HSBC said. “We expect policy makers to continue their current path of accommodative policy stance until the recovery is sustained.”

The week began on a bright note after US shares tacked on new records. The Dow rose 0.15 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.17 percent, both ending at new highs, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.20 percent.

The upbeat outlook on markets also kept the dollar supported against the yen, which is considered a go-to currency in times of political and economic uncertainty.

In early Tokyo trade, the greenback fetched 102.08 yen compared with 102.06 yen in New York Friday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3589 and 138.74 yen against $1.3597 and 138.79 yen

However, the ongoing unrest in Iraq put further upward pressure on oil prices. Sunni militants advanced in western Iraq and killed 21 people after security forces left several towns, while America’s top diplomat called Sunday for the country’s leaders to rise above sectarianism.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks for Iraqi forces, which are struggling in the face of an insurgent onslaught that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and sparked fears of a civil war.

The militants seized the towns of Rawa and Ana after taking the Al-Qaim border crossing on Saturday, residents said

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 29 cents at $107.12 and Brent crude gained 20 cents to $115.01.

Gold fetched $1,311.88 an ounce at 0210 GMT in Asia compared with $1,309.77 late Friday.

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