Asian markets rise on first trading day
Asian stocks made a strong 2011 start Monday, with Seoul hitting a record high, as traders looked forward to a healthy year ahead, although several major markets were closed for holidays.
Dealers digested Chinese data pointing to a slight cooling in the world's second biggest economy, while the greenback picked up against major currencies after suffering a three-day sell-off last week.
Seoul ended 0.93 percent, or 19.08 points, up at 2,070.08, its best ever finish as dealers welcomed data showing manufacturing activity hit a seven-month high.
Hong Kong closed 1.74 percent, or 400.60 points, higher at 23,436.05
Singapore added 1.43 percent, or 45.73 points, to end at 3,235.77 after figures showed the economy had grown at its strongest rate ever last year.
Mumbai's Sensex was 0.56 percent up in the afternoon.
Australia, Tokyo, Shanghai, Wellington and Bangkok were closed for public holidays.
Castor Pang, research director at Cinda International in Hong Kong, predicted a strong start to the year for the markets.
Markets ended 2010 in a strong position, with most around two-year highs after clawing back losses suffered in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Dealers bought up stocks as sentiment was boosted by signs of an uptick in the United States, where unemployment looks to be subsiding as the world's biggest economy picks up.
China on Saturday said manufacturing growth eased last month, suggesting attempts to cool the soaring economy could be working.
China has been struggling to calm the rapid growth of its economy, which posted annualised growth of 9.6 percent in the third quarter of 2010, slowing from 11.9 percent in the first three months.
Singapore said its economy grew at a record 14.7 percent in 2010 as the export-dependent country bounced back from the global downturn.
The performance beat its previous best of 13.8 percent in 1970 and made the city-state Asia's best performing economy of the year.
The dollar strengthened against the euro and held up versus the yen.
A euro bought 1.3301 US dollars, down from 1.3381 in New York on Friday, and the US unit was flat at 81.28 yen.
The European currency was changing hands at 108.10 yen from 108.32.
Gold closed at 1,418.50-1,419.50 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Friday's close of 1,408.00-1,409.00 dollars.
In other markets:
Taipei rose 0.59 percent, or 52.80 points, to 9,025.30. Kuala Lumpur rose 0.96 percent, or 14.51 points, to 1,533.4.