Asia Edges Up on US, China Outlook

ASX 200
CNBC 100

Asian shares touched a 16-month high on Monday as investors took heart from rising factory output growth in China and a falling unemployment rate in the United States that raised hopes about the outlook for the world's top two economies.

Growth in China's factory output and retail sales rose to an eight-month high in November, but trade numbers missed market expectations as exports and imports fell from October's readings.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 index rose 0.2 percent.

Japan's Nikkei average inched higher on Monday as gains in Fast Retailing and chip tester maker Advantest offset profit-taking on exporters after weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data.

The Nikkei ended 0.1 percent higher at 9,533.75 points, after trading as high as 9,584.46, its best level since late April. The broader Topix index eased 0.2 percent to 788.48.

Sumitomo Mitsui Construction rallied 6.1 percent and Taisei added 0.9 percent.

Panasonic climbed 0.2 percent after the Asahi newspaper said the consumer electronics maker was considering selling its main building in Tokyo by the end of March 2013, in an effort to secure funds as it struggles against heavy losses.

Japan's economy contracted for a second straight quarter in July-September, revised government data showed on Monday, indicating that weak global demand nudged the export-reliant economy into a mild recession.

China shares rose more than 1 percent in healthy volumes on Monday as retail investors returned to the market encouraged by signs of a slow but steady economic revival.

The CSI300 of top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings rose 1.1 percent to 2,271.05. The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 1.1 percent at 2083.77.

Hong Kong shares rose, led by China-related stocks, as hopes of an economic revival encouraged investors to load up on mainland-related property, banking and resource businesses.

Chinese property shares were among leading gainers on the day as investors continued to buy into one of this year's strongest performing sectors in Hong Kong.

China Resources Land rose 2.1 percent. Monday's climb brought its 2012 gains to 73 percent compared with 20.8 percent for the Hong Kong benchmark.

Energy shares continued their recovery led by CNOOC as a major overhang in the form of regulatory approval for its $15.1 billion bid for Canada's Nexen was removed over the weekend.

CNOOC rose 1.1 percent. The China oil major's shares have recovered from the slump in August following its Nexen bid and are currently at their highest since May.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.4 percent to 22,276.72 while the China Enterprises Index rose 0.7 percent, outpacing gains in other Asian benchmarks.

South Korean shares closed flat on Monday after local institutional investors' profit-taking pared early gains driven by upbeat data from China and the U.S. over the weekend.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed flat at 1,957.42 points.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics, the world's top smartphone maker, rallied 1 percent, touching a lifetime intra-day high of 1,506,000 won shortly after the market open.

Auto shares were also bullish, continuing their trend of seesawing since late November's rapid gains on strong sales. Hyundai Motor rose 2 percent while affiliate Hyundai Mobis gained 2.6 percent.

A disappointing rise in home loans brought Australian shares off early highs made on positive U.S. jobs data and industrial output and retails sales figures from China.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 came off a high of 4,571.7 points, but held in positive territory at 4,557.9, up 0.1 percent, or 6.1 points, from Friday, when the market closed at a seven-week high.

Australian home loan commitment for October released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a rise of 0.1 percent, well short of a forecasted rise of 3 percent according to a Reuters poll.

Bellwether miners BHP Billiton rose 0.6 percent while Rio Tinto gained 1.9 percent. Steelmaker Fortescue Metals jumped 6.9 percent.

Shares in radio station owner Southern Cross Austereo fell 4.5 percent amid a backlash and cancelled advertising after the death of a nurse following a prank call to the hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife.

Shares in Australia's loss-making Ten Network sank 25 percent on Monday as they resumed trading after Ten's second cash call in under six months.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent to 4,030.7 points.

Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.2 percent, while Malaysia's KL Composite Index ended up 0.9 percent.

In India, the BSE Index fell 0.2 percent, while the NSE Index ended flat.