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Asia stocks rise on stimulus hopes; Nikkei climbs 0.9% on weaker yen

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Shutterstock photo - " Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Monday, amid speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain its stimulus program into 2014 in the aftermath of the U.S. government shutdown.

The Fed's stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of global equities.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.6%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 0.57% higher, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.91%.

Market participants speculated that the impact of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown on the economic recovery would prompt the Fed to the delay plans for scaling back its stimulus program until at least the start of next year.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose to a three-week high as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar, boosting sentiment.

Earlier Monday, Japan's Ministry of Finance said the country logged a trade deficit of JPY932.1 billion last month. That markets a 15th consecutive month of trade deficits for the world's third-largest economy.

USD/JPY rose to hit a session high of 98.14, moving off Friday's low of 97.54. A weaker yen increases the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, improving the outlook for export earnings.

Index heavyweight Softbank saw shares climb 2.75% after the mobile telecom firm acquired a majority stake in U.S. mobile-phone distributor Brightstar for approximately USD1.26 billion.

Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index advanced to the highest level since May 2008 as sentiment remained supported following the release of upbeat Chinese economic data last week.

China's economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.8% in the third quarter, in line with expectations and up from 7.5% in the three months to June. Australian commodity producers are heavily reliant on Chinese demand for raw materials.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained 1.25% and 0.5% respectively, while Fortescue Metals Group rallied 2.85%.

The big four banks were mostly higher, with ANZ Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group adding 0.8% and 0.25% apiece, while Commonwealth Banking Group tacked on 0.5%.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rallied after upbeat Chinese economic data released last week eased fears over the strength of the recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

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

The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.1% at the open, France's CAC 40 futures were little changed, London's FTSE 100 futures indicated an increase of 0.2%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a loss of 0.2% at the open.

Investors were awaiting U.S. data releases later in the week after the shutdown delayed the release of some key economic reports. The September nonfarm payrolls report, which had been originally scheduled for release on October 4, was due on Tuesday. 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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