Asian stock markets gain for 2nd day (AP)

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 | Finance News

HONG KONG – Asian stock markets advanced Monday, with Hong Kong's index up nearly 2 percent, after China said manufacturing continued to grow last month albeit at a slower pace.

Every major market was higher as the region posted its second day of gains. Crude oil prices climbed over $80 a barrel, and the dollar strengthened against the yen and the euro.

China's said its purchasing managers index, a survey of manufacturers, indicated manufacturing activity expanded in February but at a lower rate compared to the previous month. The slower growth came as the government steps up efforts to curb overcapacity and inflation amid a booming economy by preventing excessive bank lending.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average rose 68.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 10,194.20.

In greater China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng benchmark jumped 368.26 points, or 1.8 percent, to 20,976.10 and Shanghai's market was up 0.9 percent at 3,080.23.

Elsewhere, Singapore's market rose 0.8 percent and Taiwan's index climbed 2.4 percent.

Markets in South Korea, India and Thailand were closed.

Friday in the U.S., markets eked out a small gain.

The Dow rose 4.23, or less than 0.1 percent, to 10,325.26. It fell 0.7 percent for the week but rose 2.6 percent for the month.

The broader S&P 500 index rose 1.55, or 0.1 percent, to 1,104.49. It fell 0.4 percent for the week and climbed 2.9 percent in February.

In oil, the benchmark contract rose 42 cents to $80.10 after adding $1.49 on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 89.07 yen from 88.84 yen. The euro was lower at $1.3606 from $1.3623.

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