Asia markets edge higher as data shows China's industrial profits rose in November

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia edged higher on Monday morning as the final trading week of 2020 kicks off.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.32% while the Topix index advanced 0.27%. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.86%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.18% higher.

Profits at Chinese industrial firms in November rose 15.5% as compared with a year earlier, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics over the weekend.

Meanwhile, shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong will be monitored by investors on Monday. That comes after Chinese regulators ordered Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group to rectify its businesses.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed on Monday for a holiday.

In coronavirus developments, the U.S. faces a looming government shutdown as President Donald Trump refused to sign a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill, passed by both chambers of Congress. Trump has criticized the bill’s $600 direct payments to Americans, demanding $2,000 checks instead.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.199 after declining from levels above 90.4 in recent days.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.54 per dollar after seeing levels below 103.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7613 after recovering from a plunge to levels below $0.75 last week.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.8% to $50.88 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.81% to $47.84 per barrel.


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