Asia stocks gain as China announcements spur Shanghai

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly gained Tuesday after China promoted an array of infrastructure projects as open to private investment and said it was slashing tariffs on imported clothing and other consumer goods. Investors lacked other cues, with markets in London and the U.S. closed for holidays on Monday.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index was nearly flat at 20,416.25 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.5 percent to 28,407.72. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.0 percent to 4,861.86; the index is up 140 percent over the past year. Australia's S&P ASX/200 climbed 0.8 percent to 5,765.10, but South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2 percent to 2,141.82. Shares in New Zealand rose and Southeast Asian shares were mixed.

CHINA BOOST: China's economic planning agency announced Monday that it wanted to attract private investment to more than 1,000 local public-private projects for ports and other transport facilities, the environment, and public services. Altogether, the projects could be worth 2 trillion yuan ($318 billion). The government also announced it would halve import taxes on clothing, cosmetics and some other goods by half in a new tactic to spur consumer spending and economic growth.

THE QUOTE: "Of course we can see the Chinese government is doing many things to stimulate real demand," said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. "Some macroeconomic indicators are not doing so well right now, so the market is trading on expectations."

GREEK DEBT: Worries persist that Greece might miss looming IMF repayments if it fails to receive bailout payments from creditors demanding it outline reforms and promise to meet cost-cutting targets. Athens is struggling to achieve greater austerity and clean up its finances without risking a relapse into recession.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil rose 10 cents to $59.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed $1 on Friday to $59.72.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 121.79 yen from Monday's 121.55 yen. The euro fell to $1.0939 from $1.0980.