Asian shares higher on China data, Wall St. rally

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An investor looks at the stock price monitor at a private securities company on Monday July 15, 2013 in Shanghai, China. Asian stock markets posted modest gains Monday, registering relief that a slowdown in China’s economic growth wasn’t as sharp as feared. (AP Photo)

HONG KONG—Asian markets rose on Monday after China released data showing the world’s second-largest economy grew in line with expectations in the April-June quarter.

While the news out of Beijing pointed to a further weakening in the economy, it met forecasts and added to broadly upbeat sentiment that was helped by another record-breaking finish on Wall Street.

Shanghai added 0.98 percent, or 19.90 points, to 2,059.39 and Hong Kong advanced 0.12 percent, or 26.03 points, to 21,303.31.

Sydney—where a number of listed companies rely on Chinese trade—climbed 0.15 percent, or 7.2 points, to 4,981.1, while Seoul closed 0.28 percent, or 5.18 points, higher at 1,875.16.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

Beijing said gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent in the second quarter, a second straight slowdown.

First-quarter growth came in at 7.7 percent, from the 7.9 percent in the last three months of 2012.

The figure matched the median forecast in a survey of 10 economists by AFP. Growth in the first six months of the year came in at 7.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires: “Investors have taken into account slower growth, and given the in-line 2Q number, they don’t see any point changing positions for now.”

Traders have grown increasingly concerned about China’s economy, a crucial driver of growth globally, as a slew of data has pointed to continuing weakness.

“Growth is slowing structurally in China as they try to rejig their economy,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment market research at Perpetual in Sydney.

“It pretty much came in line with expectations and understandably the reaction has been mild.”

Wall Street again provided a positive lead after the Dow and S&P 500 finished at record highs for a second successive session, thanks to better-than-expected earnings reports from banking titans JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.

On forex markets the dollar eased against the yen after enjoying buying sentiment in New York.

In European trade it bought 99.60 yen, compared with 99.29 yen in New York, while the euro sat at $1.3050 from $1.3067. The single currency was also at 129.99 yen, from 129.74 yen.

The greenback slipped toward the end of last week after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the bank’s huge stimulus program would be kept in place “for the foreseeable future.”

Eyes will now be on Bernanke’s testimony on the US economy and monetary policy Wednesday and Thursday, while a two-day meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors concludes Friday.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, rose

22 cents to $106.17 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for August climbed six cents to $108.87.

Gold fetched $1,282.92 per ounce at 1105 GMT, compared with $1,276.00 late Friday.

In other markets:

— Taipei rose 0.42 percent, or 34.19 points, to 8,254.68. Leading food company Uni-President added 3.81 percent to Tw$62.6 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.45 percent lower at Tw$109.5.

— Manila gained 0.70 percent, or 45.74 points, to end at 6,619.95.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 1.5 percent to 2,890 pesos and SM Prime Holdings added 2.9 percent to 17.50 pesos.

— Wellington added 0.83 percent, or 37.91 points, to 4,606.24, with Fletcher Building up 1.87 percent at NZ$8.70, Contact Energy gaining 0.91 percent to NZ$5.55 and Telecom Corp putting on 3.05 percent to NZ$2.365.

— Jakarta ended flat, edging up 2.62 points at 4,635.73.

Miner Aneka Tambang rose 4.31 percent to 1,210 rupiah, while cement producer Semen Indonesia slipped 2.28 percent to 15,000 rupiah.

— Kuala Lumpur gained 0.10 percent, or 1.02 points, to 1,786.67. DiGi rose 0.7 percent to 4.67 ringgit, CIMB Group Holdings rose 0.4 percent to 8.35 ringgit and AMMB added 0.7 percent to 7.70.

— Singapore ended flat, edging up 0.76 points to 3,236.82.

Property developer Capitaland was up 0.95 percent at Sg$3.19 and banking giant DBS added 0.67 percent to Sg$16.49.

— Bangkok added 0.12 percent, or 1.69 points, to 1,455.40.

Telecoms company True Corporation gained 5.33 percent to 7.90 baht, while oil company PTT dropped 1.73 percent to 340.00 baht.

— Mumbai jumped 0.38 percent, or 76.01 points, to 20,034.48.

Tata Motors was down 1.16 percent at 288.55 rupees while Jet Airways was up 1.88 percent at 423.40 rupees.

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