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Asia stocks rise with China in focus; Nikkei ends at 8-week high

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Shutterstock photo - - Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Tuesday, as an upbeat overnight session on Wall Street lifted sentiment and as investors digested data on China's economy.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7%, China's Shanghai Composite inched up 0.15%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.7% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 0.66%.

Asia was given a positive lead from the U.S., where the S&P 500 closed at a fresh all-time high, as indications that the U.S. economy is improving boosted sentiment.

Shares in mainland China and Hong Kong edged higher as traders returned from a three-day weekend to mark the Dragon Boat Festival.

Data released earlier showed that China's final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index came in at 49.4, down from a preliminary reading of 49.7, but higher then April's reading of 48.1.

A separate report showed that activity in the country's services sector rose to a six-month high in May.

Shares in the financial sector were higher, with China Construction Bank (HK:0939) shares up 1.4%, while China Minsheng Bank (HK:1988) and China Citic Bank (HK:0998) gained 2% and 2.4% respectively.

Elsewhere, in Tokyo, the Nikkei rose to the highest level since April 4 as the U.S. dollar remained above the 102.00 level against the yen.

Index heavyweights Fast Retailing (TOKYO:9983) and Softbank (TOKYO:9984) saw shares climb 1.5% and 1.9% respectively, while Fanuc (TOKYO:6954) tacked on 1.5%.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index ended lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 2.5% earlier in the session, in a widely expected decision.

The central bank reiterated that a prudent course looking forward would be "a period of stability in interest rates."

A separate report showed that retail sales in Australia rose 0.2% in April, in line with expectations.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a modestly lower open, as investors looked ahead to the release of key inflation data ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting later this week.

The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, France's CAC 40 indicated a decline of 0.1%, Germany's DAX pointed to a drop of 0.1%, while London's FTSE 100 indicated a loss of 0.1%.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a weak open. The Dow futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, the S&P 500 ticked down 0.15%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated a drop of 0.15%.

The U.S. is to produce data on factory orders later in the session. 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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