(RTTNews) - Asian stocks rose on Monday to notch a 29-month high after official data showed activity in China's services sector expanded at a much faster pace in August, bolstering expectations for economic recovery.
After Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced a new approach to deal with price stability and maximum employment, investors now bet interest rates would remain low for longer and more stimulus was likely.
China's Shanghai Composite index was up 1.1 percent at 3,442 as investors react to mixed economic data. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rallied 1.4 percent to 25,778.
The manufacturing sector in China continued to expand in August, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed with a manufacturing PMI score of 51.0. That missed expectations for a reading of 51.2 and it's down from 51.1 in July.
Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing index came in with a score of 55.2 - beating forecasts for 55.0 and up from 54.2 in the previous month in a hopeful sign of reviving consumer demand.
Japan's Nikkei index climbed nearly 2 percent to 23,329 after Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it has acquired slightly more than 5 percent of the shares in five large Japanese companies.
Easing of political uncertainty also boosted sentiment after Yoshihide Suga, the chief Cabinet secretary and a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, emerged as a leading candidate to take over the nation's highest political position.
Industrial output in Japan climbed a seasonally adjusted 8.0 percent on month in July, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said in a report today. That beat forecasts for a gain of 5.8 percent and was up from 1.9 percent in June.
On a yearly basis, industrial production sank 16.1 percent - missing forecasts for a decline of 15.0 percent after tumbling 18.2 percent in the previous month.
The METI also said that the total value of retail sales in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent on month in July. That missed forecasts for a gain of 3 percent and was down from 13.1 percent in June.
On a yearly basis, retail sales sank 2.8 percent - again shy of expectations for a decline of 1.7 percent following the 3.9 percent increase in the previous month.
South Korea's Kospi average was up 0.3 percent after the release of downbeat economic data. Industrial output in South Korea was up a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent on month in July, Statistics Korea said - shy of expectations for an increase of 1.9 percent and down from 7.2 percent in June.
On a yearly basis, industrial production sank 2.5 percent - again missing forecasts for a drop of 1.2 percent after easing 0.5 percent in the previous month.
The total value of retail sales in South Korea was down a seasonally adjusted 6.0 percent on month, Statistics Korea said. That missed expectations for a decline of 3.5 percent following the 3.4 percent increase in June.
On a yearly basis, retail sales rose 0.5 percent - again shy of expectations for a gain of 3 percent following the 6.3 percent jump in the previous month.
Australian shares were marginally higher, lifted by energy and technology stocks. Underlying sentiment turned cautious after government data showed wages and salaries slumped 3.3 percent during the June quarter.
New Zealand's NZX-50 index was down 0.7 percent, with the exchange sustaining a fifth day of cyberattacks.
The U.S. dollar inched down and gold held near a two-week high while oil prices edged up despite signs of ample supplies.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday as investors continued to react to the Fed's new monetary policy strategy and cheered upbeat economic data as well as Abbott Laboratories' breakthrough announcement in the coronavirus testing market.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.7 percent to reach fresh record closing highs, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent to hit its best closing level in over six months.
European markets fell on Friday in reaction to surging coronavirus cases in Spain, France and Italy and weak economic data out of Germany and France.
The pan European Stoxx 600 slid half a percent. The German DAX dropped half a percent, France's CAC 40 index eased 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.6 percent.
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