Japan stocks rise on stimulus hopes, other Asian indexes steadier as yuan stabilizes

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Japanese stocks rose after poor quarterly economic data raised hopes of fresh economic stimulus while other Asian indexes were steadier as the yuan stabilized after last week's shock devaluation.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 percent to 20,591.83 while with South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.7 percent to 1,969.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent to 23,778.67 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China added 0.2 percent to 3,972.67. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent to 5,380.10.

JAPAN ECONOMY: Asia's second-biggest economy contracted 1.6 percent in the April-June quarter on bad weather and slowing China demand, according to the latest government data. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed a huge stimulus program aimed at kickstarting economic growth but analysts say the poor results so far suggest that the central bank may pump in even more money in the months to come, a move that would also support the stock market.

ANALYST VIEW: ""These numbers are in no way positive as the Japanese economy teeters on the brink of full contraction," said Stephen Innes, senior foreign exchange trader at OANDA. "The data continues to lend support for additional quantitative easing in Japan."

YUAN STEADIES: Chinese authorities raised by a smidgen the daily level for the country's currency, which is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent against the dollar each day in the spot markets. Monday's rate fix further calmed Asia markets after Beijing last week devalued the yuan, which resulted in the currency weakening as much as 3 percent.

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended higher Friday as investor sentiment steadied after a rocky week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 percent to end at 17,477.40 and the S&P 500 climbed 0.4 percent to 2,091.54. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 percent to 5,048.24.

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ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 55 cents to $41.95 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 27 cents Friday to close at $42.50. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 55 cents to $48.64 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 124.39 yen from 124.32 in late trading Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1103 to $1.1111.