Asian Shares Advance Despite Weak Chinese Data

Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Monday as investors reacted to economic data from the United States, China and Japan. Positive U.S. economic data released late last week soothed concerns over the world’s largest economy.

However, weak Chinese data added to concerns about slowing growth, overshadowing a surprise rate cut by the country’s central bank.

Japanese GDP expanded in the three months to June but growth was weaker than market expectations.

China’s Shanghai Index fluctuated before ending marginally lower for the day as weak industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment data raised concerns about slowing growth.

Earlier in the day, China’s central bank cut both one-year and seven-day lending rates by 10 basis points in a surprise move to revive demand.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended 0.7 percent lower at 20,040.86 on China slowdown fears.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rallied 1.1 percent to finish at 28,871.78 after upbeat earnings by retail firms. The broader Topix ended 0.6 percent higher at 1,984.96.

Government data showed that Japan’s GDP grew at an annualized pace of 2.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, coming in below the median estimate of 2.6 percent.

Among the top gainers, Pan Pacific International Holdings jumped 11.5 percent and Sundrug soared 10.8 percent. Daiichi Sankyo climbed 14.5 percent after the pharmaceutical firm won a dispute over a cancer drug technology.

Indian and South Korean markets were closed for holidays.

Australian markets advanced as investors awaited key corporate earnings and the release of the minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s August policy meeting due on Tuesday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent to 7,064.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index gained half a percent to end at 7,324.90.

Core Lithium soared almost 10 percent after releasing an update on its exploration activities. Steel producer BlueScope Steel rallied 3.9 percent after its annual profit beat estimates.

Mining heavyweight BHP Group and biotech firm CSL both edged up slightly, while gas producer Santos fell 1.1 percent ahead of their earnings results due this week.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rose half a percent to 11,789.03 ahead of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s policy meeting on Wednesday, with investors expecting a fourth straight half-point rate hike.

The services sector in New Zealand expanded at a slower pace in July, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed today with a Performance of Services Index score of 51.2, down from 55.4 in June.

U.S. stocks rallied on Friday to deliver a fourth straight week of gains amid expectations that moderating inflation will help the Fed pull off a soft landing for the economy.

A measure of U.S. consumer sentiment improved much more than expected in August and one-year inflation expectations fell to the lowest level since February, adding to optimism about the economy.

The Dow gained 1.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 2.1 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.7 percent to reach new three-month closing highs.

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