The Deal: Asian Stocks Soar on China's Economic Reforms

LONDON (The Deal) -- Asian stocks soared and European stock indices moved higher after the Chinese government late last week announced economic reforms seen as likely to spur growth and help reign in public debt.

China's Communist Party, after an economic meeting that ended earlier in the week, on Friday specified a list of reforms including an easing of the country's one-child policy, improved land rights for farmers and measures to contain rising debt levels among regional authorities. The communique  filled out some of the detail missing from a turgid statement of intent released on Tuesday and sent Chinese indices surging.

In Hong, Kong the Hang Seng closed up 2.73% at 23,660.06. The Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 gained 3.33% to  2,428.90. In China, insurers, banks, energy companies and consumer businesses were among the main gainers.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei was virtually unchanged at 15,164,30. Sony (SNE) edged up 0.9% after news of strong sales on the launch of its Play Station 4 in North America was tempered by a company announcement that some customers were having "issues" with the consoles.

In the U.K. the FTSE was up 0.17% at 6,705.00.  Aberdeen Asset Management surged 13% on confirmation that it had beaten Macquarie Bank in the bidding for Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) fund manager Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.  It will pay up to $1.1 billion, including a near-10% stake in itself, and a performance-related cash component for the business, and enter a strategic partnership with Lloyds, Britain's No. 1 retail lender.

In Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.42% to 9,207.33 and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.43% to 4,310.48.

France's Korian fell about 4% on news of its 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) purchase of care-homes peer Medica, while shares in the junior merger partner rose a similar amount.

The eurozone September current account surplus unexpectedly narrowed to 13.7 billion euros from 19.7 billion euros in August, the European Central Bank said. 

The European Union's statistics agency said the euro area's trade surplus in September was 13.1 billion euros, up from 6.9 billion euros the month before.

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