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Asia stocks mixed; Hang Seng rallies to 9-month high on China reforms

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Shutterstock photo - Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, with shares in mainland China and Hong Kong rallying sharply after China outlined sweeping economic reforms.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged 2.7%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 0.32% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed down 0.01%.

Beijing late Friday released a reform plan that called for opening the financial sector to more foreign investment and a revamp of initial public offerings, particularly for state-owned companies.

The document came after the Chinese Communist Party leadership ended a meeting on Tuesday last week with only abroad outline of reform plans.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rallied to highest level since February as investors cheered China's reform package.

State-owned companies such as PetroChina and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China climbed 4.7% and 3.75% respectively.

Brokerage firms were in demand amid expectations for increased revenue. Citic Securities, China's largest brokerage by market value, surged 12.1% while Haitong Securities, the nation's second-biggest brokerage, spiked 9.4%.

Companies that make products for infants also contributed to gains after policy makers pledged to ease the one-child policy. China Mengniu Dairy jumped 5% and Hengan International Group added 5.4%.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Nikkei ended little changed as traders continued to monitor movements in the currency market.

USD/JPY fell to hit a daily low of 99.95, moving off the previous session's high of 100.42. A stronger yen decreases the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, dampening the outlook for export earnings.

Japanese megabanks provided support with shares of the nation's largest lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gaining 0.9%, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Muzuho Financial Group added 1.8% and 1% respectively.

Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index inched lower as losses in the banking sector weighed on the benchmark index.

ANZ Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group shed 0.55% and 0.4% respectively, while Commonwealth Banking Group dipped 0.6%.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a lower open.

The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.3% at the open, France's CAC 40 futures fell 0.25%, London's FTSE 100 futures indicated a decline of 0.2%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a loss of 0.15% at the open.

Meanwhile in the U.S., equity markets pointed to a marginally lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.15% decline, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.2% drop, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a loss of 0.2%.

The U.S. is to release private sector data on the outlook for the housing sector later in the day amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will hold off on scaling back monetary stimulus until next year. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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.

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