Japan stocks were a bright spot in generally strong Asian markets Monday as a weak yen and decent economic data boosted Tokyo-traded shares.
Japan's Nikkei was up 0.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.3%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was about flat and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1% on signs that some offshore money was coming back to Asia.
"I think some of the capital funds are flowing back to...emerging markets," said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets.
Japan's exports fell 10.3% in October from a year earlier, figures released Monday by theMinistry of Finance showed. The reading came in worse than a 9.4% drop forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
But exports appear to be in better shape than in the spring, when Japan's manufacturers were buffeted by worries over a Chinese slowdown and other headwinds from abroad. Government estimates released last week showed that Japan's economy grew an annualized 2.2% in the three months through September, beating economists' expectations. Exports were stronger than in the previous three months.
Regional currencies broadly fell against the U.S. dollar.
The Philippine peso was off 0.5%, the Malaysian ringgit fell 0.3% and the South Korean won slipped 0.3%.
The People's Bank of China set the yuan 0.3% weaker against the dollar Monday, the 12th straight fixing lower.
The slow drip of yuan weakening is weighing on Hong Kong-listed China shares, said Erwin Sanft, head of China strategy for Macquarie. "The [Chinese]economy has stabilized and we've moved out of deflation. So the fundamental trends are good. The main headwind is the currency," said Mr. Sanft.
The dollar strengthened to ¥ 110.81, down slightly from its earlier trade Monday of ¥ 111.12, the highest level since May 31.
China's equities markets opened higher, as investors expected domestic insurers would put more money into stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite's rise was led by insurance, shipping manufacturing and construction stocks.
Korea's Kospi was down 0.1% amid political turmoil in South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye helped a longtime friend extort money from corporations and allowed her to receive classified documents, prosecutors said Sunday. The claims are the first formal accusations of wrongdoing against the president. The scandal has paralyzed her government and triggered the nation's largest-ever street demonstrations calling for her ouster.
Lookingahead, data coming out of the U.S. this week include durable goods and home sales.
Investors are also watching out for the imminent launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong trading link, which will open about 880 Shenzhen stocks to offshore funds.
In Japan, electronics-parts maker Murata Manufacturing was up 2.3% and semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics gained 2.0%. Japan energy stocks were also higher on hopes for a deal to cut crude-oil output. Inpex rose 2.7%.
Takashi Nakamichi, Yifan Xie and Suryatapa Bhattacharya contributed to this article.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 20, 2016 23:55 ET (04:55 GMT)
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