Japan stocks rise after poor economy report raises stimulus hopes, other Asian indexes fall

MarketsAssociated Press

Japanese stocks rose after poor quarterly economic data raised hopes of more economic stimulus while other Asian indexes fell.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent to 20,637.70. However, most other major Asian indexes declined, with South Korea's Kospi slipping 0.3 percent to 1,978.13 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.7 percent to 23,838.33. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China fell 0.9 percent to 3,930.36. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 5,380.80.

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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: "Should growth remain sluggish for another quarter and inflation expectations start to fall, the odds of additional monetary easing would increase substantially," analysts at DBS said in a commentary.

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.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 59 cents to $41.91 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 61 cents to $48.58 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 124.42 yen from 124.32 in late trading Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1096 to $1.1111.