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Asia stocks mixed; Nikkei ends up 0.5% after Abe coalition victory

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Shutterstock photo - Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, with shares in Japan rising after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party won a majority in Sunday's upper house election.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.1%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 0.6% higher, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.5%.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei ended higher following weekend elections in Japan's upper house, which delivered a victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc.

The majority victory will allow Prime Minister Abe to continue to push through a series of structural reforms aimed at spurring economic growth and fighting deflation.

Despite the victory, the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, weighing on exporters.

USD/JPY fell to hit a session low of 99.59, moving off the previous session's high of 100.85. A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, dampening the outlook for export earnings.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the benchmark ASX/200 Index inched higher as sentiment remained supported amid easing concerns over the possibility the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond-buying program in the near future.

The big four banks all rose, with National Australia Bank gaining 0.3%, while ANZ Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group advanced 0.3% and 0.5%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia tacked on 0.6%.

Miners were higher, tracking gains in metal prices. Gold miners Newcrest Mining and Medusa Mining soared 7.5% and 20.9% respectively after gold futures broke above the key USD1,300-level.

Elsewhere, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng swung between small gains and losses in choppy trade after China's central bank said on Friday it was removing the lower limit on interest rates for banks, in an effort to help lenders attract more borrowers and spur economic activity.

The China banking sector were among the biggest drags on the index, with China Construction Bank shares dropping 0.6%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China falling 1.4% and China CITIC Bank declining 2.8%.

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

The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.2% at the open, France's CAC 40 futures rose 0.1%, London's FTSE 100 futures eased up 0.2%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a flat open.

The U.S. was to release private sector data on existing home sales later in the trading day. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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