Asian markets opened higher Monday amid hopes the Chinese government would initiate more stimulus measures to boost economy. But Japanese stocks dragged on account of a stronger yen and as disappointing domestic GDP data hurt sentiment.
On the other side, Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.4% as the dollar grew weaker against the yen, changing hands at 96.19 yen earlier in the session.
Data released on Monday showed second-quarter economic growth in Japan was slower than expected -- the GDP grew 2.6% during the period as against expectations of a 3.6% rise, and as compared with the first-quarter growth of 3.8%.
Meanwhile, in China local reports said that Beijing was "quietly" providing financial stimulus to some cities and provinces to boost economic growth in these key areas.
Stocks on the Move
Chinese metal players led the gains in Hong Kong. Jiangxi Copper rose over 6%, Zhaojin Mining soared more than 10% while Angang Steel added 2.5%. Aluminum Corp. of China was up 4.4%.
Financials and property developers added to the gains amid optimism over policy stimulus. The country's largest lender ICBC rose 2.4% while China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank improved 2.2% and 2.9% respectively.
Among developers, China Resources Land and Poly Property Group enhanced around 2% each while mainland listed Gemdale Corp. and Poly Real Estate Group gained 3.3% each.
Miners topped the chart on Australia's resource-heavy benchmark S&P/All Ordinaries index. Diversified player Fortescue Metals Group bounced 7% while BHP Billiton Plc. and Rio Tinto Plc. climbed around 2.5%.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining surged 6.5% despite posting its biggest annual loss as the miner said it would continue to focus on cost-cutting measures.
Troubled surfwear retailer Billabong International was 4.2% higher after a New York based hedge fund bought a 5% stake in the company.
David Jones moved up 3.5% after the company entered an exclusive deal with Dick Smith to refurbish its badly performing electronics division.
James Hardie Industries climbed 2.5% after posting higher first quarter profits.
In Mumbai, pharmaceuticals and metal players gained ground in early trades. Sun Pharma soared 7.8%, Cipla gained 4% while Tata Steel and Jindal Steel were up 2.8% and 1.9% respectively. Among banks, ICICI Bank tacked on a percent while SBI and HDFC lagged behind in the negative zone.
Shares of Kingfisher Airlines dropped 3.6% as lenders took possession of the debt-strapped airline's headquarters for loan recovery process.
On the flipside, in Tokyo exporters were mostly lower. Sumco Corp. lost 3.5%, while Nintendo Co. erased 2.5%. Sharp Corp. and Panasonic Corp. were trading around 1% lower.
But Komatsu Ltd. moved against the tide, adding 3.6%. Some other rare gainers included tire maker Bridgestone Corp., which jumped 4.7% after raising its profit forecasst for the fiscal year ending March 2014.
Watch maker Citizen Holdings bounced nearly 17% after it posted upbeat results and also raised its profit guidance.
Most other stocks, however, lagged behind. Among financials, Daiwa Securities and Nomura Holdings slumped around 4% each while realty player Sumitomo Realty & Development retreated 5.7%.