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Asian stocks rise on Wall Street record, China stimulus hopes after manufacturing growth fades

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BEIJING, China - Asian stock markets rose Monday, lifted by another record high on Wall Street and expectations of stimulus in China after its manufacturing growth slowed. Investors looked ahead to this week's U.S. employment figures and a meeting of Europe's central bank for signs of stimulus steps.

KEEPING SCORE: China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent to 2,229.97 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.2 per cent to 15,460.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 per cent to 24,875.52. Sydney, Taipei and Jakarta also rose. Seoul's Kospi was down 0.1 per cent at 2,066.70.

CHINA FACTORIES: Two surveys showed China's manufacturing growth slowed in August as export demand and investment weakened, raising expectations Beijing might launch more stimulus. HSBC Corp. said its purchasing manufacturers index fell to 50.2 from July's 18-month high of 51.7 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an expansion. An official industry group, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, said its separate PMI declined to 51.1 from 51.7.

THE QUOTE: The manufacturing slowdown adds to signs that China's "economy still faces considerable downside risks to growth in the second half of the year, which warrants further policy easing to ensure a steady growth recovery," said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu.

WALL STREET: On Friday, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.3 per cent after delivering its fourth record high in five days. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.1 per cent. U.S. markets were due to be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

EUROPE: Investors looked ahead to Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank for signs of possible stimulus. Bank chief Mario Draghi called in a speech last month for fiscal policies to support growth, a departure from the ECB's implicit support for austerity. No immediate steps were expected but the bank has begun work on a program to buy asset-backed securities.

U.S. ECONOMY: The latest update on the labour market due out Friday is expected to show relatively firm conditions. Investor confidence has risen following several months of strong growth in hiring and corporate profits and a series of major corporate acquisitions.

ENERGY MARKETS: U.S. benchmark crude for October was down 11 cents to $95.86 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.41 on Friday to close at $95.96.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.18 yen from Friday's closing of 104.04. The euro declined to $1.3121 from the previous session's $1.3136.

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