Asia Markets: Asian markets rise after surprise gain in China’s factory activity

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Asian markets gained in early trading Monday following an unexpected jump in China’s manufacturing activity in November.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index came in at 50.2 in November, according to official data over the weekend, the first time it topped 50 since April. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expected a reading of 49.5. Readings above 50 indicate growth, while below signals contraction. Despite the optimistic data, economists said it was too early to say that China’s economy has recovered.

Meanwhile on the trade-war front, a state-run newspaper said Sunday that China “insists” on a rollback of U.S. tariffs as part of any “phase one” trade deal. A separate report by Axios said new tensions over Hong Kong will likely delay a deal until the end of the year, at the earliest, and that a number of sticking point remain, such as the scale of tariff rollbacks and mechanisms for enforcement of the deal.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +1.06%   rose 1.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.46%   gained 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.35%   edged up 0.3% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.48%   advanced 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.28%   gained 0.4 and benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.03%  , Singapore STI, +0.20%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, +1.21%   rose. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.48%   was up 0.6%.

Among individual stocks, Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings 4689, +2.39%   gained in Tokyo trading, as did Toyota 7203, +1.45%   and Sony 6758, +1.83%  . In Hong Kong, developers Country Garden 2007, +3.30%   and China Overseas Land Investment 688, +2.86%   advanced, while AAC Technologies 2018, -1.64%  declined. Samsung 005930, +0.60%   inched in up South Korea while Westpac WBC, +0.75%   and Rio Tinto RIO, +0.80%   advanced in Ausralia.