Asian markets rise despite slower economic growth in China – MarketWatch

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Asian markets rise despite slower economic growth in China - MarketWatch

Shares in Asia rose Monday, extending gains on Wall Street last week. Buying enthusiasm has been spurred by renewed hopes for progress on resolving the trade standoff between the U.S. and China. Shares rose in Shanghai and Hong Kong early Monday despite news that China’s economy grew at its lowest pace in three decades last year.

The Shanghai Composite Index

SHCOMP, +0.56%

  surged 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index

HSI, +0.39%

  climbed 0.3%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index

NIK, +0.26%

  rose 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi

SEU, +0.02%

  was almost flat and the S&P ASX 200

XJO, +0.18%

  in Australia added 0.3%. Shares rose in Southeast Asia and Taiwan

Y9999, +0.54%

 .

Among individual stocks, Nissan

7201, +0.44%

  rose slightly as former chairman Carlos Ghosn renewed an attempt for bail. Electronics maker TDK

6762, +3.31%

  and Takeda Pharmeceutical

4502, +3.28%

  were among Tokyo’s biggest gainers. In Hong Kong, shares of Sunny Optical

2382, +5.51%

  surged while fellow Apple component maker AAC

2018, -0.41%

  fell. In Australia, Treasury Wine Estates

TWE, +1.04%

  stock jumped after announcing its chief operating officer had left the company due to a breach of internal policies.

China on Monday announced its economy expanded by 6.6% over a year earlier, down from 2017’s 6.9%. Growth in the three months ending in December cooled to 6.4% from the previous quarter’s 6.5%. China’s communist leaders are trying to steer China to slower, more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment. But the slowdown has been sharper than expected, prompting Beijing to ease lending controls and step up government spending to shore up growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses. The lackluster data raised hopes for more policy action.

Stock benchmarks in the U.S. and Europe jumped Friday after Bloomberg News reported that Chinese officials offered to buy more goods and services from the U.S., potentially eliminating its trade deficit by 2024. On Wednesday the Chinese government said the top trade envoys from both countries will meet at the end of January. The U.S. trade deficit with China grew to a record $323.3 billion in 2018. The two countries have raised taxes on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in the spat over the trade deficit, Beijing’s manufacturing plans, and U.S. complaints that China steals technology from foreign companies.

“The scrutiny remains on U.S.-China trade even as no scheduled announcements or meetings are expected. After seeing Wall Street enthused by reports of the U.S. considering lifting tariffs on Friday, the weekend delivered another dose of positivity for markets. This came in the form of reports suggesting that China had offered a path to eliminate trade imbalances with the U.S. in their early January talk in China,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

On Friday, the S&P 500

SPX, +1.32%

  climbed 1.3% to 2,670.71 and the Dow Jones industrial average

DJIA, +1.38%

  climbed 1.4% to 24,706.35. The Nasdaq composite

COMP, +1.03%

  added 1% to 7,157.23. Stock indexes have surged since reaching a low point on Christmas Eve, as the S&P 500 has risen for four weeks in a row. It climbed 2.9% last week. It’s risen at least 1.9% every week during that rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 5.9% and the S&P 500 index has risen 6.5% so far this year, a surprisingly strong showing coming off a punishing end to 2018. U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

U.S. crude

CLG9, -0.19%

  rose 13 cents to $54.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 3.3 percent on Friday to $53.80 in New York. Brent crude

LCOH9, -0.33%

 , used to price international oils, picked up 16 cents to $62.86 per barrel. It added 2.5 percent to $62.70 a barrel in London on Friday.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.13%

  fell to 109.68 yen from 109.78 yen.

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