Asian stock markets were mostly advanced Monday but investors are cautious ahead of the heavy data week and the U.S. earnings.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.54 percent or 126.70 points to 23,390.77 and Chinese Shanghai climbed 2.57 percent or 57.68 points to 2.300.68 while South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.31 percent and India’s BSE Sensex rose 0.80 percent. Japanese Nikkei remained closed for holiday.
Shares in China and Hong Kong surged as a robust financial sector offered support. Chinese Shanghai composite rallied more than 2 percent after China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Guo Shuqing said Monday that China can increase 10 times the current level of investment quotas for foreign investors to invest in domestic stocks.
China Minsheng Banking Corp. surged 5.99 percent and Industrial Bank Co Ltd. rallied 5.96 percent in Shanghai while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. advanced 0.87 percent and Ping An surged 3.14 percent in Hong Kong.
However, investors remained watchful ahead of a slew of reports from the U.S. and Asia. Reports on retail sales, Empire manufacturing, Philly Fed, housing starts, industrial production and inflation from the U.S are due to be released during the week. Most of the reports are likely to show an improvement and will lift the mood slightly in the coming week.
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China will release its fourth quarter and full year GDP data along with retail and industrial production figures Friday and numbers are likely to beat estimates. The data is forecast to show that the world's second largest economy’s fourth quarter growth accelerated to 2.3 percent in QoQ terms and 7.9 percent in YoY terms and would put to rest any remaining doubt about China escaping a hard landing.
“Data releases this week will maintain the growth recovery story in the U.S. A host of earnings this week, especially from financials will help dictate the equity market and in turn risk tone over coming days,” a note from Credit Agricole said.
Market participants will also focus on the U.S. corporate earnings as earnings season heads into a full swing this week. A slew of companies, including major financials like Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) will report their quarterly earnings during the week.