Asian stock markets gain after China cuts interest rates to limit economic slowdown

Markets Associated Press

Asian stocks rose Monday after China's central bank cut interest rates for the third time in six months, hoping to reinvigorate waning growth in the world's No. 2 economy.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 19,625.20 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.9 percent to 2,103.93. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7 percent to 27,761.96 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China advanced 1.2 percent to 4,255.73. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 percent to 5,646.60. Markets in Southeast Asia also rose.

CHINA CUT: On Sunday, the People's Bank of China cut interest rates for the third time in half a year in a fresh bid to shore up sputtering economic growth. The central bank's latest move came after trade data released on Friday showed a bigger than expected decline in exports in April over the year before. At the same time, inflation remains low, giving policymakers leeway to ease monetary policy as they strive to keep growth from falling below a 7 percent target.

THE QUOTE: "The latest move is likely to have positive effects for stock markets today as investors respond to the valuation impact for China's stock market and welcome the move as a statement of intent by authorities to support the economy," CMC Markets Chief Analyst Rick Spooner said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: The U.S. stock market ended last week with its best day in two months on good news about the job market. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.5 percent to close at 18,191.11 while the Standard & Poor's 500 added 1.4 percent to 2,116.10, its biggest gain since mid-March. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.2 percent to 5,003.55.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose slipped 4 cents to $59.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 45 cents to close at $59.39 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude edged up 4 cents to $66.20 in London.

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CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 119.87 yen from 119.79 in late trading Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1155 from $1.1223.