By Investors Hub
Asian stocks rose on Monday as weak U.S. data released on Friday cemented expectations the Federal Reserve could strike a dovish stance this week.
Investors also remained hopeful for a U.S.-China trade deal after Xinhua news agency reported the U.S. and China have made further “concrete progress” on the text of the trade agreement between the two sides.
Chinese shares hit a 6-1/2-month high on expectations there is scope to ease monetary policy to support economic growth this year.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index soared 74.67 points or 2.5 percent to 3,096.42, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 396.75 points or 1.4 percent to 29,409.01.
Japanese shares moved higher despite weak February export data. The country’s exports fell for a third month in February amid waning external demand, putting pressure on the Bank of Japan to offer more stimulus.
Exports fell an annual 1.2 percent in February due to declines in shipments of semiconductor production equipment and cars, official data showed.
The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 133.65 points or 0.6 percent to 21,584.50, driven by chip-related stocks. The broader Topix closed 0.7 percent higher at 1,613.68.
Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Sumco Corp jumped 2-3 percent after tech shares led the Nasdaq to its best weekly rise this year on Friday. Index heavyweights Fast Retailing, SoftBank and Fanuc rose between half a percent and 1.6 percent.
Australian markets ended higher as stronger commodity prices amid reports of progress in U.S.-China- trade talks boosted mining stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 15.30 points or 0.3 percent to 6,190.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 18.50 points or 0.3 percent at 6,283.60.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto climbed 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group surged up 5.4 percent.
Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals ended on a flat note after exercising an option to enter into a joint venture with steel-maker Posco for manufacturing battery-making materials.
Construction and mining services group CIMIC Group advanced 1.7 percent on winning a A$1.7 billion ($1.20 billion) mining contract in Botswana.
Bubs Australia soared 4.8 percent on news it will expand its range of children’s snacks by launching eight new organic-labeled snacks.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia shed 0.7 percent after it settled a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over research and development claims. The other three big banks ended narrowly mixed.
Seoul stocks ended a choppy session higher as institutions went on a massive buying spree despite global uncertainties.
The benchmark Kospi edged up 3.38 points or 0.2 percent to 2,179.49. Automakers paced the gainers, with Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis rallying 2-3 percent.
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