South Korea stocks lead gains in Asian markets, boosted by positive US data

Gains were seen across the board in Asia on Monday, with South Korean equities leading the way early on as heavyweight chipmakers surged further. Meanwhile, Wall Street’s strong gains at the end of last week also buoyed sentiment. 

As of 9.25 hrs. local time in Thailand, the Kospi in South Korea rose 1.46% and the Kosdaq Composite Index was up 1.23%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.44%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.68%, while the Nikkei 225 in Japan surged 0.54%.

Mainland China markets were mixed. The Shanghai Composite was 0.34% higher and the Shenzhen Component slipped 0.52%.

The shares of two South Korean technological giants, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, reached their highest levels in more than a month on Monday morning, rising as much as 2.33% and 4.86%, respectively.

“A positive tone should be the order of the day in Asian trading in a week with little local macro content to focus on,” said ING analysts Robert Carnell and Iris Pang.

U.S. reports released on Friday also improved sentiment, with stronger-than-expected retail sales, an increase in consumer sentiment, lower inflation predictions, and cooling import prices.

Due to positive responses to bank results and economic data, the markets sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring by more than 600 points on Friday in the U.S.

The Dow gained 658.09 points, or 2.15%, to end the week at 31,288.26, while the S&P 500 climbed 19.02 points, or 0.79%, to 3,863.16. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.79% to 11,452.42.

CNBC notes that later this week, investors will be watching for the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting minutes, China’s one-year and five-year loan prime rate decision and the Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision.