• Asian stocks reverse earlier gains to edge lower

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    HONG KONG: Asian markets edged lower in holiday-hit trade on Monday, reversing earlier gains that were fueled by upbeat US and Chinese manufacturing data as well as strong US auto sales.

    The euro made a small gain after suffering selling pressure last week on expectations the European Central Bank (ECB) will cut interest rates at its next meeting on Thursday.

    Sydney slipped 0.38 percent, or 20.6 points to close at 5,390.5, and Seoul fell 0.70 percent, or 14.25 points to 2,025.17. Shanghai closed flat, dipping 0.07 points to 2,149.63, and Hong Kong gave up 0.26 percent, or 60.17 points to 23,189.62.

    Tokyo and Mumbai were closed for public holidays.

    US shares finished on a high on Friday, after figures showed manufacturing activity grew faster than expected in October. That came hours after China said that its own purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at its highest level for 18 months.

    News that October auto sales from the three largest US manufacturers—Chrysler, Ford and General Motors—saw double-digit percentage gains supported Wall Street on Friday. The Dow added 0.45 percent, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.29 percent, and the Nasdaq was flat.

    Over the weekend data showed signs of growth in China’s services sector, as the official nonmanufacturing PMI recorded its strongest reading in 14 months.

    In China, attention is turning to a Communist Party policy meeting due to start on Saturday, with traders looking for possible economic reforms.

    Also, Washington will release third-quarter gross domestic product advanced estimates on Thursday, and official October nonfarm payrolls figures on Friday.

    On currency markets, the euro ticked up slightly after tumbling last week on expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) would cut interest rates, after figures showed inflation in the region at a four-year low.

    The euro bought $1.3492, compared with $1.3482 in New York City but well down from $1.3750 on Wednesday. It was at 133.09 yen against 133.10 yen in New York City.

    “The eurozone has seen poor results in recent months, and there are serious concerns that the inflation rate has gone too low,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told Agence France-Presse.

    “Investors will be watching if the ECB President Mario Draghi will indicate further monetary easing in the eurozone, with a new long-term refinancing option a viable option,” he said.

    The dollar was at 98.65 yen from 98.69 yen in New York City. The greenback is being buoyed by speculation the Federal Reserve will begin winding down its stimulus program next month, after it gave an upbeat assessment of the US economy last week.

    AFP

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