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Asian markets mixed; Hang Seng up, Kospi down

Asian markets were trading mixed on Monday. Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent, while Nikkei was trading flat.

Asian equities kicked off the week mixed as key data from Japan and China outweighed a strong US jobs report on Friday.

Japan’s revised third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) showed the economy shrank more than initially estimated, with growth contracting an annualized 1.9 percent. Meanwhile, October’s current account balance showed a surplus of 833 billion yen, better than expectations for a surplus of 366 billion yen.

Focus now turns to Chinese trade data due later in the day. Citi estimates export growth fell from 11.6 percent on year in October to 7.5 percent in November, and import growth from 4.6 percent on year to 3.5 percent. Still, Beijing’s trend of record trade surpluses is set to continue, with Citi predicting a USD 43.1 billion surplus compared with October’s USD 45.5 billion surplus.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Dow ended at record highs last week after US employers created 321,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since January 2012. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at a six-year low of 5.8 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.48 percent or 116.12 points at 24,118.76. Japan’s Nikkei was flat at 17,927.43.

Singapore’s Straits Times was up 0.15 percent or 5.11 points at 3,329.50. South Korea’s Seoul Composite was down 0.15 percent or 3.02 points at 1,983.60.

Taiwan’s Taiwan Weighted fell 0.20 percent or 18.54 points at 9,206.57.

(with inputs from cnbc.com)

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