Asian stocks extend gains

30 April, 2018

Asian equity markets were mostly higher on Monday, with investors focusing on geopolitical tensions over the Middle East while keeping an eye on fresh economic reports.

Trading volumes were below average in the last season of the month, as Japanese and Chinese markets were closed in observance of national holidays.

South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.92 percent, or 22.98 points, to end at 2,515.38. Automakers, steelmakers and energy-related stocks supported the benchmark.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 1.79 percent at 30,823 points by the time of this writing. Financials and real estate stocks were among the best performers.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.49 percent to close at 5,982.70, with financial components leading advancers while materials and energy stocks capped gains.

On the data front, China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for April came in at 51.4, above expectations of 51.3, but falling short from a previous month 51.5. The services PMI established at 54.8, topping prior month's reading of 54.6.

Last week, the Dow Jones industrial average ended 11.15 points lower at 24,311.19. The S&P 500 was 0.1 percent higher at 2,669.91 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was flat at 7,119.80.

Sentiment in Asia was boosted by the recent inter-Korea summit, which gathered leaders of both North and South Korea and got them to work on a peace deal.

Ahead in today’s session, Germany’s retail sales for March will be out at 06:00 GMT, with a 0.8 percent increase seen. Later on, traders will pay attention to the German consumer price index for April. Analysts are forecasting a 0.5 percent growth in prices.

Later on, in the United States, market players will be focusing on the core PCE price index at 12:30 GMT. This is Fed’s favourite inflation measure and investors are hoping to see a 1.9 percent advance against a previous month 1.6 percent growth. Personal spending will also be released by that time. Pending home sales for March are up at 14:00 GMT.

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