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James Hyerczyk
Asian Stock Market

The major Asian stock indexes jumped to three-month highs on Monday as progress on re-opening economies helped offset jitters over riots in U.S. cities and uncertainty over the Trump administration’s power struggle with Beijing. Investors also reacted to a report from over the weekend that showed Chinese factory activity expanded in May.

On Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 22062.39, up 184.50 or +0.84%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 23722.21, up 760.74 or +3.31% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2065.08, up 35.48 or +1.75%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 2915.43, up 63.08 or +2.21% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5819.20, up 63.50 or +1.10%.

Investors Watching US for Economic Setback

Although US stock index futures are trading higher, the opening was touch and go as many expected a sharply lower opening in response to violence and looting in several major cities over the weekend.

The turmoil that dominated the cable news networks over the weekend for the whole world to see has the potential to trigger a fresh setback in the economy which is only just emerging from a downturn akin to the Great Depression.

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US Power Struggle with China Continues

Asian investors probably sighed a little relief on Monday after President Trump decided on Friday not to come down hard on China for its aggressive actions against Hong Kong. Trump said he would begin the process of ending special treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, however, he would leave the Phase One trade deal intact.

“With specific and verifiable measures against China appearing to be weak, markets may draw hollow consolidation that the U.S. is treading carefully,” said analysts at Mizuho in a note.

Chinese Factory Activity Expands in May

Data released over the weekend by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed factory activity in the country expanding in May, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) coming in at 50.6. That was a decline from the 50.8 print in April and below the 51.0 level expected by analysts, according to Reuters. Still, the figure for May was above the 50 level, which separates expansion from contraction in PMI readings.

In other news, a private survey also showed China’s manufacturing activity expanding in May. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for May came in at 50.7, according to Reuters. That was higher than a 49.6 print expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Hong Kong Shares Surge on Relief Over Trump Comments

Hong Kong shares surged on Monday as investors expressed relief that U.S. President Donald Trump did not immediately end special privileges according to Hong Kong by Washington.

“The (U.S.) President on the matter of Hong Kong has stopped short of sanctions or even touching on any other fresh restrictions or potential trade barriers against fears, helping to ease some of the frayed nerves across US to Asia,” Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG, said in a note.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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