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Economic Data From Major Economies Helped to Boost Stocks

Asia is home to some of the largest economies in the world, such as China, Japan, South Korea, and some others. Interestingly, stocks in Asia-Pacific were higher on the first day of the month as the second quarter kicked off with several economic data releases out across the region.

It is worth noting that Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led to gains among the region’s major markets. It added 1.97% to end its trading day at 28,938.74. Dozens of firms listed in Hong Kong were suspended from trading on the first day of April. Importantly, multiple companies cited a delay in the publication of their annual results as a reason behind the halt.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.72% to close at 29,388.87. At the same time, the Topix index gained 0.19% to end its trading day at 1,957.64.

South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.85% to close at 3,087.40.

Moreover, mainland Chinese stocks also strengthened their positions on Thursday. The Shanghai Composite added 0.71% to 3,466.33. In the meantime, the Shenzhen component gained 1.459% to end its trading day at 13,979.69.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.56% to 6,828.70.

Let’s have a look at the corporate news as well. Interestingly, shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company gained 2.56% on Thursday. According to the firm, it plans to invest $100 billion over the next three years to increase capacity at its plants.

Stocks in Asia and positive news

As mentioned earlier, stocks in Asia-Pacific strengthened their positions thanks to positive information that came from Japan and South Korea. Importantly, a number of economic data releases were out on Thursday.

Let’s have a look at the headline large manufacturers index in the Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan business sentiment survey. It is worth noting that the survey came in at 5, against expectations of a 0 reading.

However, Australia’s retail sales dropped 0.8% in February on a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis. Importantly, the country also posted a trade surplus of 7.529 billion Australian dollars (about $5.71 billion) for February. Nevertheless, this result failed to meet expectations.

Let’s have a look at a private survey released on Thursday. It showed slowing growth of Chinese factory activity in March. Notably, the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for March came in at 50.6.

As a reminder, China’s official manufacturing PMI came in at 51.9.

Last but not least, South Korea reported March export growth accelerated to 16.6% over a year earlier from the previous month’s 9.5%.

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