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Asian stocks rise as rate cuts come back into focus, China pops

0– Most Asian stocks rose on Monday, tracking strength in Wall Street as weak payrolls data sparked a resurgence in rate cut expectations, while Chinese markets returned from a long weekend with standout gains. 

Still, regional trading volumes were held back by market holidays in Japan and South Korea. 

U.S. stock index futures rose mildly in Asian trade after a strong session on Friday, with markets now awaiting addresses from several key Federal Reserve officials this week for more cues on interest rates. 

Most Asian markets were nursing steep losses through April, as

Chinese stocks return with a bang, at 7-mth highs  

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes rose 1.6% and 1.1%, respectively, catching up to gains in their peers after a long weekend. Both indexes were sitting at their highest levels since early-October, after launching a stellar recovery over the past two months. 

Markets were also reacting to news from last week that Beijing had loosened strict home owning restrictions in the property market- a move that is expected to boost the beleaguered sector. 

Private purchasing managers index data showed continued resilience in China’s services sector, which has been a key driver of business activity over the past year. 

Chinese stocks marked a strong recovery from five-year lows hit in February, amid some optimism that economic growth will pick up in the country. Beijing has largely kept up its monetary stimulus measures, while also loosening restrictions on several industries to boost growth. 

Gains in mainland stocks helped spur some gains in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which was facing resistance after entering a bull market from February lows. 

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Australian stocks rise with RBA in focus 

Australia’s ASX 200 added 0.6%, tracking gains in its U.S. and Chinese peers. 

But sentiment towards Australia remained on edge before a Reserve Bank of Australia meeting on Tuesday. 

While the RBA is expected to keep rates on hold, analysts warned of a more hawkish outlook from the bank, especially after inflation data read much higher than expected for the first quarter. 

Any hawkish signals are likely to unsettle Australian stocks.

Broader Asian markets were muted on account of market holidays.

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a positive open, with the index set to rebound from Friday’s losses tracking gains in its Asian peers. 

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