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Market Update

A Weak Start for Asian Equities

Asian equities started the week on a subdued note Monday as investors reacted to last week's dismal job figures out of the U.S.

Among the regional indexes, mainland China's Shanghai Composite was little changed (-0.1%) while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up early gains, slipping 0.1% too.

In Sydney, All Ordinaries lost 0.3%.

Investors were reacting to lower than expected jobs data released in the U.S. Friday that showed the economy added only 74,000 jobs as against expectations of 193,000 net additions.

Mumbai's Sensex, however, rose 1.3% at 10:04 a.m. IST ahead of a key retail inflation data to be released today.

Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

Stocks on the Move    

In Hong Kong, some earnings related news spurred sharp stock movements. Aluminum Corp. of China soared over 6% after returning to profit in 2013 as the nation's largest producer of the metal lowered costs and sold assets to its parent company.

That optimism also brushed on other metal players. Jiangxi Copper was trading 2.7% higher while Angang Steel gained 1.5%.

Lenovo Group surged over 3% as the Chinese company retained its lead as the world's biggest maker by shipments, with a market share of 17.1% for 2013, according to data released by researcher IDC.

Retailers, however, were trading weak -- Esprit Holdings slipped 0.2% while Li& Fung lost 0.8% after the company said it plans to start a factory safety consulting unit after a deadly fire at one of its garment plants in Bangladesh killed 112 workers.

Banking stocks also hugged the flatline -- ICBC, Hang Seng Bank and HSBC Holdings were all little changed at the time of writing.

Among banks in Sydney, NAB lost 1%, Westpac gave up 0.6% while ANZ erased 0.3%.

In the resources segment, miners were mostly lower. Fortescue Metals Group lost 0.8% while Rio Tinto edged down 0.1%. But BHP Billiton added 0.3% amid news that company's chairman, Jacques Nasser, was facing investor pressure to revisit its capital management initiatives.

Gold miners were shining bright following an uptick in bullion prices on the commodities exchange last week. Newcrest Mining bounced over 6% while OceanaGold Corp. advanced 5.2%.

In Mumbai, IT players continued to lead the gains. Infosys was the top gainer on the Sensex, up 3.4% extending its winning streak following upbeat results last week. TCS followed closely with a gain of 2.5% while Wipro added a slim 0.6%.

Banks, auto players, realty firms were among other leaders on the 30-share benchmark index. 

Tata Motors accelerated 2.4% after its subsidiary Jaguar-Land Rover reported sale of 425,000 vehicles in 2013, up 19% from last year --- marking its best performance so far.

Among others, ONGC, ICICI Bank, L&T, HDFC and Mahindra & Mahindra gained around 1% to 2.5%.