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Market Update

Asian Markets Gain Despite Weak Data

Asian bourses notched higher as investors chose to ignore some weak data points from China, with last weekend's strong performance on Wall Street spurring optimism.

The Shanghai Composite gained 1.2%, the Hang Seng rose 1%, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries added 0.6% while the Sensex closed 0.5% higher.

Japanese markets remained closed for a public holiday.

A strong rally on Wall Street last Friday after U.S. jobs data topped estimates helped investors shrug off some tepid economic reports from the region.

The HSBC flash reading of China's services purchasing managers' index came in at 51.1 in April, down from 54.3 in March, indicating growth in the country's services sector slowed down considerably to its lowest level in more than two years.

New order expansion was the slowest in nearly 20 months while staffing levels in the service sector also dropped for the first time since January 2009.

In a separate report, official data released by the Australian government showed retail sales in the country declined unexpectedly last month. Retail sales fell 0.4% in March, as compared with a gain of 1.3% in February.

Meanwhile, services growth in India also decelerated sharply during April as new orders grew at a much slower pace, according to an HSBC survey.

The HSBC services purchasing managers' index for Indian services sector dropped to 50.7 last month -- its lowest since October 2011 -- from 51.4 in March.

Stocks on the move

Commodity-linked stocks paced the gains in Hong Kong. Jiangxi Copper Co. soared nearly 5.5% while Angang Steel rose 1% and Aluminum Corp. of China gained around 0.5%.

Among oil stocks, CNOOC added 1.4%, PetroChina enhanced over 2% while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. rose 1.1%.

In corporate news, Galaxy Entertainment said it would purchase $419 million worth assets in Macau's Cotai from Get Nice Holdings Ltd. Shares of Galaxy bounced 6% while Get Nice Holdings Ltd. surged more than 11% on heels of the news.

In Australia, mining stocks logged strong gains on the back of higher commodity prices. Top miner BHP Billiton rose 2.8% while close-rival Rio Tinto gained 3.1%. Fortescue Metals Group jumped around 6%.

Among energy stocks, Karoon Gas Australia surged more than 22% after the company reported a new oil discovery offshore Brazil.

On the earnings front, Orica Ltd. added 1.6% after its first-half profit climbed and after the company said it expected higher annual earnings this fiscal year.

Metal players in Mumbai were also in the lead. Tata Steel rose 3.6%, Hindalco Industries and Jindal Steel were up 3.5% and 2.3% respectively.

IT firms were among other top gainers -- TCS, gained 3.3%, while Infosys scored 1.5% up and Wipro added 0.4%.