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Asia: Gambling stocks bolster Hang Seng

Stock markets in Asia started the week on positive footing after former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers dropped out of the race as candidate to head the Federal Reserve and as Hong Kong gambling stocks surged following Macau election results.

Japanese stock markets were closed on Monday for Respect-for-the-Aged Day. On Friday, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 17 points at 14,404.

Investors also looked ahead to this week’s Federal Reserve meeting with an expected tapering of the Fed’s $85bn-a-month bond-buying widely expected after its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Hang Seng advanced 337 points or 1.47% at 23,252, the highest level since May, as gambling stocks rallied.

Democrats lost out to Casino bosses and pro-Beijing candidates in Macau elections on Sunday. Preliminary results showed democrats secured just two out of the 14 seats in Macau’s Legislative Assembly compared to three in the previous 2009 election. Macau is the world’s largest casino capital.

Sands China surged 4% while Galaxy Entertainment rallied 5.4%.

Financials also did well with shares of HSBC and China Construction Bank up 1.9% and 1.6% respectively. China Minsheng Bank rose 1.6% on news that it has agreed to a strategic partnership with the Alibaba Group.

Oil major China Petroleum & Chemical otherwise known as Sinopec firmed 1% as investors cheered media reports that the Chinese government plans to invest 80bn yuan in oil and gas exploration this year.

Elsewhere internet giant Tencent climbed 1.5%.

The Hang Seng will be closed on Friday for a holiday.

CJ

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