Asian markets jump out to strong gains to start the week

Asian stock markets posted nearly across-the-board gains in early trading Monday, with South Korea the lone holdout.

The iron-and-steel sector led gains in Japan, helping push the Nikkei NIK, +0.86%  up almost 1%. Kobe Steel 5406, +1.51% , Sumitomo Metal 5713, +1.75%  and Aichi Steel 5482, +1.49%  were all up more than 1%. That came as the dollar hovered around ¥111.30, providing additional support to the stock market. Toyota 7203, +1.86%  is up more than 1.6% early. The Nikkei has already risen four straight days.

Hong Kong stocks jumped, with the Hang Seng HSI, +2.06%  up 1.8% after two days of declines. Energy and tech shares shined, with Sinopec 0386, +4.65%  extending recent strength with a 3.8% gain following its earnings report. Tech heavyweight Tencent 0700, +1.36%  rose 1.4%, turning positive for August.

Chinese stocks started strong, nearly matching the gains seen in Hong Kong. Perhaps helped by the end-of-week jump in the yuan, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.43%  was up 0.8% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +2.01%  rose 1.6%. Improving expectations about the currency should help equities rebound near-term, Essence Securities said.

Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.26%  was struggling to make gains following its best week since early March. Construction stocks were down sharply, with cement firm Busan 011390, -8.92%  skidding 11%.

Indexes in Australia XJO, +0.36%  and New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.43%  were barely up, but benchmarks in Taiwan Y9999, +0.77% , Singapore STI, +0.66%  and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.16%  all gained 0.5% or more in early trading.

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