Asia-Pacific markets start the week with gains
By Ese Erheriene
Financials boost Australia index, Samsung lifts Kospi
Asia-Pacific equity markets were higher early Monday, with Australia's benchmark index rebounding from three straight sessions of declines, led by strength in financial stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday posted its biggest weekly gain of the year.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6% in early trade. The heavily-weighted banking sector staged a rebound, with the country's big four banks -- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) , Westpac Banking (WBK) , National Australia Bank (NABZY) and Australia and New Zealand Banking (ANZ.AU) -- each up around 1%.
"The trend to rotate out of materials and into financials exposures seems likely to continue today," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Group.
Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9%, driven by a 2% gain in heavyweight Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) . Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index opened up 0.8%. Markets in Japan were closed Monday for a public holiday.
In New Zealand, the NZX 50 Index added just 0.1%, with shares of New Zealand Refining (NZR.NZ) and Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) leading declines, as stock selling continued after a Thursday pipeline rupture at a refinery that services New Zealand's busiest airport.