Investing.com – Asian stocks extended their gains in afternoon trade on Monday, despite data that showed China’s manufacturing activities in April were slower than expected. Japan’s market was closed on Monday, Tuesday and Friday this week for Golden Week while China shut Monday and Tuesday.
The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.4 in April, compared to 51.5 in March and the general consensus of 51.3.
The figure is still well above the 50-point mark that suggests expanding business conditions in China, although the softer numbers hinted a loss of momentum in the country’s economy following recent trade disputes with the U.S.
Meanwhile, the official services PMI rose to 54.8 in April from 54.6 in March. The composite PMI that covers both manufacturing and services activities came in at 54.1 in April, versus March's 54.
Discussions between South and North Korea were in focus earlier in the day as South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s spokesmen said on Sunday that North Korea would shut down its main nuclear test site in May.
The news came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged “complete denuclearization” at a meeting with Moon on Friday.
Kim told Moon that he “isn’t the type of person” to use nuclear weapons, reports on Sunday said. Kim is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.
The KOSPI traded higher following the development and was 0.8% higher by 1:20AM ET (05:20 GMT).
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index extended its gains from the morning and jumped 1.6% in afternoon trade. PetroChina (HK:0857) profit rose 78% in the first quarter as the country’s largest oil and gas producer benefited from a rally in crude prices, according to an earnings statement. Meanwhile, United Company Rusal (HK:0486) surged 5.1% as Oleg Deripaska reduced his stake in EN+, the largest shareholder in Rusal, to below 50%, He will also resign from the sanctioned firm's board, a regulatory filing in London said.
Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.6%. The Aussie dollar received modest support from the China PMI data, while traders now turn their attention to the upcoming RBA policy meeting on Tuesday.
Looking ahead, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to keep rates unchanged this week.
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