Asia Stocks Buoyed by Japan Econ Data

HONG KONG (AP) -- Most Asian stock markets rose Tuesday on better-than-expected Japanese economic data and a weaker yen while European shares drifted as investors came back from a long weekend in the U.S. and Britain.

KEEPING SCORE: European stocks saw modest declines in early trading, with Britain's FTSE 100 dipping 0.1 percent to 6,265.70 and France's CAC 40 slipping 0.2 percent to 4,518.66. Germany's DAX edged 0.2 percent lower to 10,309.17. U.S. stocks were poised to open modestly higher, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent to 17,868.00 and broader S&P 500 futures edging up less than 0.1 percent to 2,097.90.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: Market sentiment was relatively upbeat as investors found some solace in the latest economic data from Japan, which showed factory output and consumer spending data improved in April from the previous month, though they remained weak. Other key events on investors' radar this week as they as they seek to gauge the world economic outlook include the China's manufacturing index due Wednesday, an OPEC meeting Thursday and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

ANALYST'S INSIGHT: "The focus will be on U.S. data tonight, as U.S. markets return from Memorial Day," Bernard Aw of IG said in a commentary, noting concern over whether the Fed will push ahead with rate hikes as recently suggested by Fed chair Janet Yellen. "Investors will be keen to see if U.S. data this week will corroborate the Fed's slightly optimistic tone."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent to finish at 17,234.98 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.8 percent to 1,983.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.9 percent to 20,815.09 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China jumped 3.3 percent to 2,916.62. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,378.60. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

SHANGHAI SURGE: Chinese stocks jumped on speculation that global stock benchmark provider MSCI may include yuan-denominated shares in its Emerging Markets Index for the first time. Any changes would take effect in June. Inclusion of China's so-called "A-shares" would attract more foreign investment as fund managers rebalance their portfolios.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 22 cents to $49.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 22 cents to $50.14 per barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar strengthened to 111.07 yen from 110.95 yen in Monday's trading. The euro edged lower to $1.1138 from $1.1146.

(KA)