BEIJING Asian stocks mostly rose Monday after Chinese officials said market turbulence was ending while uneasy investors mulled the timing of a U.S. rate hike and looked ahead to data on China’s slowing economy.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent to 3,187.82 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent to 17,816.78. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.2 percent to 20,885.74 and Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 1,886.97 and India’s Sensex was stable at 25,204.43. New Zealand also rose. Sydney’s SandP/ASX 200 shed 0.5 percent to 5,014.50 and Taiwan, Singapore and Bangkok also retreated.
CHINA RHETORIC: China’s central bank governor, finance minister and securities agency tried to reassure investors over the weekend that market turmoil was ending. At a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies. People’s Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said Beijing’s intervention averted a bigger crisis, according to a central bank statement. After a four-day holiday weekend, investors were looking ahead to data this week that are expected to show weak trade but strong growth in retail sales. Also Monday, the National Bureau of Statistics reduced its estimate of 2014 economic growth, already a two-decade low, by 0.1 percentage point to 7.3 percent.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Whether or not we have realistically seen the lows in the various Chinese markets is yet to be seen, but the belief and assurance provided by the Chinese authorities over the weekend suggests we may see better days ahead. Of course, one day doesn’t make a bull market,” said strategist Chris Weston of IG Markets in a report. “I’m not sure exactly what new measures will eventuate, but the trading public seems to have bought into it.”
US JITTERS: A mixed report on August employment left investors wondering what the Federal Reserve might do about interest rates at a meeting this month. Friday’s report showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low but employers added fewer jobs than forecast. The Fed’s deputy chairman said earlier that the U.S. central bank still was on track for a rate hike this year, but Friday’s report fueled uncertainty about whether it will feel confident enough to act. The Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate close to zero since late 2008, which has pushed up stock prices.
WALL STREET: On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 272.38 points, or 1.7 percent, to 16,102.38. The Standard and Poor’s 500 gave up 29.91 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,921.22 the index ended the week down 3.4 percent, its second-worst weekly drop of the year. The Nasdaq composite slipped 49.58 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,683.92.
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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 21 cents to $45.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, it shed 70 cents to close at $46.05 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 42 cents to $49.19 in London after falling $1.07 to $49.61.
CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 119.46 yen from 119.04 yen on Friday. The euro edged up to $1.1153 from $1.1147.