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Australian shares rise on China factory growth

Published June 23, 2014 9:04 am

Stock markets • Many exchanges reflected concerns about widening warfare in Iraq.
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Hong Kong • Australian shares rose Monday after a report indicated China's economic slowdown has bottomed out, but other global stock markets were mixed as concerns about widening turmoil in Iraq weighed on investor sentiment.

HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers' index showed activity in China's huge manufacturing sector expanded for the first time this year, a sign that the effects of recent mini-stimulus measures unleashed by Beijing to boost growth were filtering through the economy.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 percent to close at 5,453.30 and the country's currency strengthened. Investors are hoping an improving Chinese economy will benefit big mining companies in Australia, where the resource-driven economy has become highly dependent on China's demand for commodities such as iron ore.

But the optimism was offset in other Asian and European markets by concern about escalating violence over the weekend in Iraq, where militants captured a chunk of new territory in the country's west.

"The better tone of PMI data boosted risk appetite overnight," strategists at Rabobank said in a report. "That said, geopolitical concerns remain a constraint and many Asian bourses are ending the session little changed on the day."

In early European trading, Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent to 9,907.88 while France's CAC 40 shed 0.8 percent to 4,507.14. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies slipped 0.5 percent to 6,794.44.

U.S. stocks were poised to open flat, with Dow futures slipping less than 0.1 percent to 16,849.00 while broader S&P 500 futures were practically unchanged at 1,953.60.

Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 percent higher to close at 15,369.28, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.4 percent to end at 1,974.92. Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.7 percent to 22,804.81 while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dipped 0.1 percent to 2,024.37.

In energy trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery rose 27 cents to $107.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 78 cents to settle at $106.83 per barrel on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 101.85 Japanese yen from 102.08 in late trading Friday. The euro weakened to $1.3584 from 1.3599.




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