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Market Update

Tokyo, Mumbai Gain in Muted Asian Session

Trading was thin in Asia Monday as Hong Kong and Shanghai remained closed for the Dragon Boat holiday.

However, China stayed in the news as it released some strong manufacturing data over the weekend. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index showed rose more –than-expected to 50.8 in May, up from April’s 50.4.

HSBC’s final reading of China’s manufacturing PMI is expected later today.

The Nikkei led gains for the region, ending 2.1% higher. The Sensex added 1.9% while the All Ordinaries added 0.5%.

Earlier today, data in Australia showed gross operating profits of companies rose 3.1% in the first quarter from the preceding quarter and 10.9% form a year earlier. Another report showed the number of home-building permits fell in April by 5.6% from March, recording the third straight monthly drop in a row.

In Japan, a release from the country’s finance ministry said capital investment by companies increased 3.1% in the January-March quarter from the previous quarter. The survey also showed current corporate profits rose 20.2% from a year ago.

Last week Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closed at record highs.

Stocks on the Move

The yen weakened against major currencies after the Chinese data soothed concerns of a slowdown, providing a boost to exporters’ stocks.

Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. dropped 5% after the company confirmed reports it was in talks to buy U.S. life insurer Protective Life for about $4.9 billion.

Sony was up 1.7%. Panasonic gained 2.7% and Olympus rose 2.8%. Hitachi advanced 3.5%.

Toyota gained 1.1% while Mazda was up 2.3%. Hino Motors surged 4.1%.

Tokyo Eelctron rose 2.1%.

The Sensex snapped a two-day losing streak.  L&T was the top gainer, up 6.4% as the shares got their first chance to react to forecast-beating results announced after the market close Friday.

Maruti Suzuki ended 3.1% higher as the carmaker reported a 19% rise in May sales earlier today.

Other top gainers included Airtel, up 5.5%, ONGC, up 5.2%, Tata Steel, up 4.4%, SBI, up 4.2%, Axis Bank, up 3.5%, and HDFC Bank, up 3.3%.

Miners were mixed in Sydney following a drop in iron-ore prices Friday. BHP Billiton was down 1.1% while Rio Tinto edged 0.1% lower. However, Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron reversed earlier losses and ended up 1.8% and 1.5% each, respectively.

The biggest gainer was Karoon Gas Australia as its shares shot up about 43% after it said it is selling its interest in Australia’s offshore Browse Basin natural gas project to Origin Energy for about $800 million. Origin Energy shares were down 3.6%.