Japanese, Australian Stocks Finish Higher, Majority of Asian Equity Markets Shut for National Holidays
Asian equity markets were mainly closed for national holidays on Monday with only Japan and Australia's benchmark indices, the Nikkei 225 and ASX/S&P 200, respectively, having operated through the day to finish higher.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 opened higher and traded up through morning and afternoon sessions, concluding with a 0.59% rise on the day. The gains were attributed by analysts to a strong earnings season while positive data on the nation's manufacturing sector boded well for continued expansion in the world's third largest economy.
The Nikkei Japan Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which is seen as a gauge of manufacturing activity in Japan, posted a reading of 52.7 in April, up from from 52.4 in March, while the yen slipped in trading, regarded as a positive in export-oriented Japan.
Among the biggest equity gainers on the index, were semiconductor manufacturer Tokyo Electron (TOELY, 8035:Tokyo), up by 13.3%, followed by Nippon Electric Glass (NPEGF, 5214:Tokyo), 11.7% higher, and Kobe Steel (KBTSY, 5406:Tokyo), up by 9.7%. On the downside were camera-maker Ricoh (ROCOY, 7752:Tokyo), off 7.0% and machine-tool builder OKUMA (6103:Tokyo), off by 5.5%.
In Australia, Sydney's ASX/S&P 200 rose by 0.55% strengthened by a positive outlook for financial institutions, which have been reporting strong profits. Meanwhile, the nation's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, is expected to keep policy interest rates unchanged for the ninth straight month, despite being below its inflation target, said analysts
Markets in Seoul, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok and Mumbai were closed.
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