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May 29, 2017

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World stocks rise as China manufacturing improves

TOKYO/HONG KONG--World stock markets mostly rose Monday after China's manufacturing expanded and two Wall Street benchmarks hit record highs.

Gains in Europe were mild and trading in Asia was relatively subdued, with markets closed for holidays in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand.

But sentiment was underpinned by an official survey that showed China's manufacturing expanded for a third month in May, with overall factory activity at its highest level this year.

As trading got underway in Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 9,960.78 and Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent to 6,862.77. France's CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent to 4,512.35.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.67 percent, or 110.90 points, over the week to 16,717.17 Friday, setting a fresh record.

The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 23.04 (1.21 percent) over the week to 1,923.57, also a new record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 56.81 (1.36 percent) to 4,242.62.

Canadian pharmaceutical firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals International raised its bid on Wednesday for Botox-maker Allergan and then raised it again on Friday to about US$53.5 billion.

The food industry was also in focus as U.S. meat processing giant Tyson Foods and Brazilian heavyweight JBS both launched unsolicited takeover campaigns for Hillshire Brands.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Sunday that its monthly manufacturing index rose to 50.8 points in May on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. That was up from April's 50.4 and was the highest level this year, suggesting a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is stabilizing.

The index tracks manufacturing activity and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy.

With few other catalysts driving action, investors in Asia are awaiting data including U.S. jobs figures this week for trading clues, as well as the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

U.S. employment data, including initial jobless claims, non-farm payrolls data and the latest unemployment rate will be released Thursday and Friday.

"Thursday's ECB meeting and Friday's U.S. payrolls report dominate the international skyline," National Australia Bank said.

Financial markets are betting on an interest rate cut from the ECB as low inflation, the strong euro and anaemic credit finally spur it into action.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 2.1 percent at 14,935.92 after the yen weakened to about 102 to the dollar. Weakness in the yen is typically a boost for the share prices of Japan's export giants.

South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.4 percent to 2,002 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,518.50. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

Gold fetched US$1,246.98 an ounce at 1100 GMT compared to US$1,250.50 late Friday.

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