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Asian shares mostly gain despite headwinds from China data, Nkorea

Stock MarketsMay 15, 2017 12:01AM ET
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© Reuters. Asian shares mostly gain Asian shares mostly rose on Monday outside of Tokyo despite headwinds from a weekend missile test by North Korea and concerns over further spread of ransomware cyberattacks globally.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.12%. The Kospi shrugged off North Korea's latest missile launch and reversed earlier losses to trade 0.39% and Australia S&P/AX 200 rose 0.08%. Miner BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) is expected to unveil plans to unlock greater value from its shale assets after hedge fund Elliott Management urged the company to restructure last month, Reuters said. The company also dropped the "Billiton" in its name as part of a rebranding exercise. BHP shares fell 0.36%.

Also in Australia, Fairfax Media was reportedly offered A$2.76 billion ($2.04 billion) by TPG Capital Management for the entire company. An earlier bid by TPG had only targeted Fairfax's main newspapers and property listings arm. Fairfax shares surged 7.24% on the news.

The Hang Seng Index gained 0.56% and the Shanghai Composite added 0.26%. China reported industrial production rose a less than expected 6.5%, missing a 7.5% gain seen. As well, China said retail sales for April rose 10.&% on year, more than the 10.^% seen, and fixed-asset investment gained 8.9%, below the 9.1% expected.

Last week, U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Friday, as investors fled retail stocks for a second straight day amid fears of a slowdown in the retail sector while weaker than expected economic data weighed on upside momentum.

Retailers led the decline, in the major U.S. indexes, as shares of JC Penney Company Inc Holding (NYSE:JCP) dropped 14%, after the company beat earnings expectations but fell short of comparable-store sales estimates.

The slump in shares of JC Penny, came a day after department store chain, Macy’s Inc (NYSE:M) dropped 17%, after reporting earnings that missed estimates on both the top and bottom line.

Meanwhile, weaker than expected economic data dampened expectations of a rebound in U.S. economic growth for the second quarter, as both inflation and core retail sales data fell short of expectations.

Core Retail Sales, an important indicator used to gauge the strength of the U.S. economy, increased by 0.3% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.5% rise.

Elsewhere, the Labor Department said consumer prices rose 0.2% after a 0.3% drop in March, which was the biggest fall in more than two years.

On the political front, investors parsed through a tweet from Donald Trump, after he warned recently dismissed FBI chief James Comey, against leaking information to the press.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 20,896.61, down 0.11%. The S&P 500 lost 0.15% while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6121.23, up 0.09%.

Asian shares mostly gain despite headwinds from China data, Nkorea

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