Asian stock markets mostly advanced Monday as better-than-expected reading on the U.S. economic activity data buoyed sentiment.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei gained 0.27 percent or 24.51 points to 8957.57and South Korea's Seoul Composite rose 0.35 percent or 6.63 points to 1898.06 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.31 percent or 67.47 points to 21478.10 and South Korea's Seoul Composite fell 0.23 percent or 4.82 points to 2061.38.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Friday that economic activity in the world’s largest economy picked up in the third quarter as stronger spending by consumers and the government offset falling exports and flat business investment. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, up from 1.3 percent growth pace in the second quarter and also topped economists’ expectation of 1.9 percent pace in growth.
China reported over the weekend that profits of industrial companies rose 7.8 percent in September on annual basis to 464.3 billion yuan ($74 billion), rebounding from a 6.2 percent drop in August.
Meanwhile, market participants turned their attention to the U.S. presidential election and economic data as a slew of reports from the U.S. and Asia are due to be released in the coming week. The economic data to be reported include China manufacturing PMI and the U.S. non-farm payrolls and unemployment data for October.
“For the moment, the main focus is extreme weather conditions due to Hurricane Sandy in the US, with the floor trading in NYSE/NYMEX to be closed later today. A quiet US trading session is expected. For the week ahead, the main focus will be the US jobs report for October, which is the last key data release ahead of the election,” said a note from Credit Agricole.
Japanese shares advanced on expectations that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will opt to ease monetary conditions when its policy board meets on Oct. 30. Speculation increased after the Sankei newspaper reported last week that the Japanese government had asked the BoJ to boost asset purchases by an additional 20 trillion yen, which would bring the whole asset purchase program to 100 trillion yen.
Among the stocks, Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd. gained 1.60 percent and NEC Corp. surged 2.14 percent while Toyota Motor Corp. rose 0.49 percent.
Hong Kong stocks fell, led by declines from property developers after the local government imposed its first property tax on overseas buyers to cool property prices. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. slumped 5.10 percent and Henderson Land Development Co. tumbled 6.41 percent while Sands China Ltd. gained 1 percent.
In Seoul, SK Hynix Inc. gained 2.70 percent and LG Electronics Inc. surged 3.70 percent while Hyundai Motor Co plunged 3.31 percent.