Asian Bounce Led by Financials and Miners


"Resource-related stocks soared across the region. . ."

Asian stocks enjoyed broad gains on Monday, led by the financial and mining sectors and underpinned by supportive industrial activity data.

Hong Kong closed at its highest level for five weeks as the Hang Seng index jumped 2.2% to 21,056.93. In Shanghai, the Composite index rose 1.2% to 3,087.42, its best finish since January 25.

Mainland banks advanced amid optimism that this week's China National People's Congress would reaffirm an "appropriately loose" monetary policy, in spite of recent steps to tighten liquidity.

Those hopes were helped along by news that the official purchasing managers' index fell to 52.0 this month from 55.8 in January.

An alternative PMI, produced by HSBC/Markit, also declined but at a less dramatic pace.

Analysts noted that the output price component in the HSBC/Markit PMI fell significantly, suggesting inflationary pressure had started to ease.

"This is very positive, because the biggest short-term risk for China in our view is that inflation could increase substantially and force the People's Bank of China to hit the brakes aggressively," said Flemming Nielsen, senior analyst at Danske Bank.

Resource-related stocks soared across the region as the price of copper was boosted by news of an earthquake in Chile, the world's biggest producer of the metal.

Jiangxi Copper climbed 5.8% to HK$16.70 while, in Tokyo, Sumitomo Metal Mining rose 1.1% to Y1,276, Dowa Holdings gained 1.8% to Y511 and Mitsui Mining and Smelting added 1.6% to Y248. Trading company Mitsui and Co climbed 2.1% to Y1,408.

Japanese banks also attracted demand following positive broker comments on the sector.

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