Asia stocks broadly higher; Nikkei jumps 1.4% on GDP data

Forexpros - Asian stock markets were broadly higher on Monday, as market sentiment improved after better-than-expected Japanese economic data and strong U.S. retail sales figures helped ease fears over the global economy.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged 2.5%, Australia's ASX/200 Index jumped 2.6%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.4%.

Preliminary data released earlier in the day showed that Japan's economy contracted by 0.3% in the second quarter, or 1.3% on an annualized basis.

Analysts had expected Japan's economy to contract by 0.9% in the quarter, or 2.5% on an annualized basis.

Meanwhile, government data released Friday showed that U.S. retail sales rose by 0.5% in July, the biggest gain in four months.

Shares in Japanese exporters with high exposure to the U.S. performed strongly, amid an upbeat outlook for export earnings.

Consumer electronics giant Sony saw shares rally 3.95%, plasma television maker Panasonic rose 1.5%, while automakers Honda and Toyota saw shares gain 3.4% and 2.9% respectively.

In Hong Kong, shares in the beaten-up financial sector led gains, as investors sought for bargains following sharp declines last week.

China Construction Bank saw shares jump 3.4%, shares in Bank of China Hong Kong rallied 5.1%, China's largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China rose 3.5%, while shares in insurance provider Ping An soared 8.6%.

Exporters also posted healthy gains, with Li & Fung, the world's biggest supplier of toys to major U.S. retailers, surging 5.7%, while shares in Esprit Holdings, the Hong Kong-based retailer that counts Europe as its largest market rose 5.4%.

Elsewhere, Australia's biggest construction company Leighton Holdings saw shares jump 8.25% in Sydney after reiterating that it expected to return to an annual profit in 2012. The company reported a AUD409 million loss for the fiscal year ending June 30 earlier in the day.

The outlook for European stock markets was upbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 1.2%, France's CAC 40 futures rose 1.1%, the FTSE 100 futures climbed 1%, while Germany's DAX futures indicated a strong gain of 1.5%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce official data on manufacturing activity in New York State and a report on the balance of domestic and foreign investment in the U.S.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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