ASIA MARKETS: Chinese Stocks Leap, Leading Gains By Asian Markets

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Positive economic data boosts China; rising yen pressures Nikkei

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Upbeat economic data helped send Chinese stocks higher in their first trading day of the week, while most other Asian markets were up.

An official measure of China's factory activity stayed in expansionary territory in May, as did its official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index. That showed there haven't been significant economic impacts from Beijing's efforts to crack down on leverage and shadow banking.

The results were "slightly better than expected," said Hao Hong, head of research at Bocom International. "Though the recovery momentum is decelerating," May's increase in the service-sector reading was encouraging, he added. China has been trying to shift its economy to rely more on service industries.

Benchmark stock indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen were each recently up 0.8%. Chinese markets were closed for the first two days of this week for a holiday. The Taiex index in Taiwan was down slightly after also being closed for the past couple of days.

Hong Kong stocks , which didn't trade Tuesday, were recently up 0.3%. They came into Wednesday with seven straight sessions of gains, their longest winning streak in 13 months. The Hang Seng has been at 23-month highs lately.

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The Nikkei in Japan was recently down 0.1%. Equities there remain under pressure from a rebounding yen; the U.S. dollar was recently at around Yen110.90.

Meanwhile, though Japanese industrial production jumped last month at its highest rate in six years, the increase was slightly below consensus expectations.

In Korea, the Kospi index shook off weak data to rise 0.4% -- in the process reversing declines from the prior two sessions. Industrial output fell last month, which wasn't expected, though government officials attributed it to a higher base number in the earlier comparable month and a downward adjustment to semiconductor facility investment.

Australian stocks, which have been this month's underperformers in the Asia-Pacific region, were looking to end the month on better note. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2% as bargain-buying of banking stocks offset declines in oil companies. Macquarie (MQG.AU) gained 1.7% and National Australia Bank (NABZY) added 1.1%.

Oil firms were also lower in Hong Kong and Japan as futures prices eased following modest declines overnight. Brent , the international benchmark, was recently down 0.3% at $52.11 a barrel.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 30, 2017 23:15 ET (03:15 GMT)