Upbeat China PMI boosts Asian stocks, Aussie; oil firm on Iraq -
By Shinichi and Saoshiro TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks and the Australian dollar rose on Monday as upbeat news from China's factory sector and fresh highs on Wall Street fueled appetite for riskier assets, while crude oil held near nine-month highs as fighting in Iraq intensified. The MSCI index hit intraday highs after the June HSBC/Markit Flash China PMI showed China's factory sector activity expanded for the first time in six months, offering new signs the economy is stabilising thanks to Beijing's measures to shore up growth. "This month's improvement is consistent with data suggesting that the authorities' mini-stimulus are filtering through to the real economy," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC, referring to a series of measures announced by the government in recent months to spur activity. Risk sentiment was dampened earlier in the year when China reported an underwhelming run of data showing a cooling in investment, retail sales and factory output.