Asia stocks rise, brush off slower China growth
BANGKOK — Asian stock markets posted modest gains Monday, registering relief that a slowdown in China’s economic growth wasn’t as sharp as feared.
The world’s second-largest economy grew 7.5 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter, slowing from the previous quarter’s 7.7 percent, as weak trade and a clampdown on lending took their toll.
It was the second consecutive quarter of slowing growth but still strong enough to suggest China will meet Beijing’s 7.5 percent growth target for this year.
A clampdown on overly fast growth in lending had contributed to jitters that China’s growth might fall below 7 percent. That would hurt companies around the world that have become increasingly reliant on breakneck Chinese growth to boost earnings.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.4 percent at 21,369.00 and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 4,985.90. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent 1,875.70. Japan’s financial markets were closed for a public holiday.
Elsewhere, benchmarks in Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand rose while Indonesia and India fell.
The gains in Asia came after Wall Street eked out new highs.
After spending most of Friday flat or down, U.S. stocks rallied at the last minute and closed slightly higher, just enough to post record highs for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500.
The gains were tiny. And the record doesn’t mean much for investors, who hardly have any more money now than they did a day earlier. But it is a sign that investors believe the market’s rally this year may not be over yet.
In energy trading, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 5 cents at $106 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.04 to $105.95 in New York on Friday, driven higher by continuing tensions in Egypt and a sharp drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.
The euro was little changed at $1.3068 from $1.3066 late Friday. The dollar rose to 99.24 yen from 99.14 yen.