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Asian stocks end mostly higher in thin trade after China PMI

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday despite weak Chinese manufacturing data but trading volumes were thin with Japanese and South Korean markets shut for holidays.

HSBC's final reading of manufacturing activity in the mainland came in at 48.1 for April, below the bank's preliminary reading of 48.3. The figure marked a fourth straight month of contraction, in contrast to the country's official PMI reading that showed a reading of 50.4.

Read MoreWeek ahead: China,central banks are key event risks

"Today's lower than expected reading is a sign that conditions in the manufacturing sector remain challenging. Nonetheless, it is the first improvement in the index since October, which alongside the second successive pick-up in the official manufacturing PMI announced last week, suggests that downward pressure on the economy has eased somewhat," said analysts at Capital Economics.

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Name
Price
 
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NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Ukraine, US jobs in focus

Rising tensions in Ukraine overshadowed a better-than-expected April U.S. jobs report. Clashes broke out in at six cities in eastern Ukraine over the weekend while pro-Russian forces overran a police station in Odessa, freeing close to 70 activists held there. The move followed the deadliest day of conflict thus far on Friday, which left 46 people dead.

The U.S. economy created 288,000 jobs in April, with the jobless rate at 6.3 percent. Analysts had expected an addition of 210,000 jobs while unemployment was seen falling to 6.6 percent.


Shanghai gains 0.1%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index reversed earlier losses to close above the flatline. The index was shut on Thursday and Friday for public holidays.

Risk appetite was dampened on fears that a deluge of new market listings will tighten liquidity. Over the weekend, Xinhua reported that the country's securities regulator unveiled prospectuses of 25 applicants for initial public offerings, bringing the total number to 211 since April 19.

Property developers were hit after the vice-chairman of China Vanke, China's largest listed developer, compared the country's current situation to that of Japan and Hong Kong before their property bubbles burst.

Poly Real Estate and China Merchants Property lost over 3 percent each while Gemdale fell 2.8 percent.

Read MoreChina's half-year report card: slow, safe and steady

Hong Kong stocks suffered however, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index down over 1 percent.

ASX flat

Australian shares managed to end in positive territory following a choppy session. On Friday, the benchmark S&P ASX 200 index ended the week more than 1 percent lower, its first weekly loss in six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar also declined after breaching 93 U.S. cents earlier in the session.

Westpac Bank lost 1.4 percent after reporting an 8 percent annual rise in first-half cash earnings and raising its dividend to 90 cents per share early on Monday.

Iron ore developer Aquila Resources soared 37 percent after receiving a $1.06 billion joint takeover bid from Baosteel and Aurizon Holdings.

Read MoreTwo big issues for stocks this week

Emerging markets higher

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite and the rupiah were little changed after first-quarter gross domestic product missed expectations. Meanwhile, Indian shares closed the day higher by 0.2 percent, snapping a five-day losing streak.

Contact Asia

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