Asian shares higher on China data, Wall St rally

HONG KONG - Asian markets rose on Monday after China released data showing the world's second largest economy grew in line with expectations in the April-June quarter.

While the news out of Beijing pointed to a further weakening in the economy, it met forecasts and added to broadly upbeat sentiment that was helped by another record-breaking finish on Wall Street.

Shanghai added 0.98 per cent, or 19.90 points, to 2,059.39 and Hong Kong advanced 0.12 per cent, or 26.03 points, to 21,303.31.

Sydney - where a number of listed companies rely on Chinese trade - climbed 0.15 per cent, or 7.2 points, to 4,981.1, while Seoul closed 0.28 per cent, or 5.18 points, higher at 1,875.16.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

Beijing said gross domestic product expanded 7.5 per cent in the second quarter, a second straight slowdown.

First quarter growth came in at 7.7 per cent, from the 7.9 per cent in the last three months of 2012.

The figure matched the median forecast in a survey of 10 economists by AFP. Growth in the first six months of the year came in at 7.6 per cent, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires: "Investors have taken into account slower growth, and given the in-line 2Q number, they don't see any point changing positions for now."

Traders have grown increasingly concerned about China's economy, a crucial driver of growth globally, as a slew of data has pointed to continuing weakness.

"Growth is slowing structurally in China as they try to rejig their economy," said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment market research at Perpetual in Sydney.

"It pretty much came in line with expectations and understandably the reaction has been mild."

Wall Street again provided a positive lead after the Dow and S&P 500 finished at record highs for a second successive session, thanks to better-than-expected earnings reports from banking titans JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.

On forex markets the dollar rose further after enjoying buying sentiment in New York.

In late afternoon trade it bought 99.60 yen, compared with 99.29 yen in New York, while the euro sat at $1.3050 from $1.3067. The single currency was also at 129.99 yen, from 129.74 yen.

The greenback slipped towards the end of last week after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the bank's huge stimulus programme would be kept in place "for the foreseeable future".

Eyes will now be on Bernanke's testimony on the US economy and monetary policy Wednesday and Thursday, while a two-day meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors concludes Friday.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, fell 24 cents to $105.71 a barrel in late-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for August fell four cents to $108.77.

Gold fetched $1,285.60 per ounce at 0800 GMT, compared with $1,276.00 late Friday.

In other markets:

- Taipei rose 0.42 per cent, or 34.19 points, to 8,254.68. Leading food company Uni-President added 3.81 per cent to Tw$62.6 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.45 per cent lower at Tw$109.5.

- Manila gained 0.70 per cent, or 45.74 points, to end at 6,619.95.

- Wellington added 0.83 per cent, or 37.91 points, to 4,606.24, with Fletcher Building up 1.87 per cent at NZ$8.70, Contact Energy gaining 0.91 per cent to NZ$5.55 and Telecom Corp putting on 3.05 per cent to NZ$2.365.