Stimulus hopes boost China shares while other Asian markets down after weak US growth number

Markets Associated Press

Weak Chinese manufacturing data boosted stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong on Monday as investors speculated on the rising likelihood of new stimulus measures. Other Asian benchmarks fell as unease over waning U.S. growth and delays in reaching an agreement on Greece's bailout terms spilled into the new week.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 20,504.49 and South Korea's Kospi sank 0.8 percent to 2,098.66. Australia's S&P ASX/200 slipped 1.1 percent to 5,712.00 and shares in Southeast Asia also fell. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 percent to 27,609.53. The Shanghai Composite jumped 2.8 percent to 4,739.33 after tumbling 6.5 percent on Thursday

CHINA SLOWDOWN: Two surveys released Monday showed China's manufacturing industry, which employs many millions of people, remained weak last month, adding to pressure on Beijing to roll out more measures to keep economic growth on target.

U.S. GLOOM: U.S. stocks sank Friday following news that the U.S. economy shrank in the first three months of the year, contracting 0.7 percent compared with the initial estimate of 0.2 percent growth. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 115.44 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,010.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 13.40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,107.39, logging its first weekly loss in three weeks.

GREEK DRAMA: Greece's negotiations with its European creditors on reforms it must make to get a vital 7.2 billion euro ($7.8 billion) payment from the bailout plan keeping it afloat dragged on past the weekend. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with the French and German leaders on Sunday in their second conference call in three days to discuss progress in the talks, Greek officials said.

THE QUOTE: "The stock market starts a fresh week with a soft lead from international markets and plenty of reason to be cautious as the next milestone for the Greek debt saga draws near and a lot of potentially significant economic data is slated for release," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst for CMC in Sydney said in a commentary.

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ENERGY: The futures contract for benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 44 cents to $59.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It jumped $2.62 on Friday to $60.30 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price oil sold internationally, fell 29 cents to $65.25 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 124.02 yen from 124.14 yen in the previous global trading session. The euro rose to $1.0963 from $1.0909.