Markets in Asia mostly higher

<p>China mainland stocks are at their highest in seven years.</p>

Most Asian stocks ended the week on a high, with the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China at its highest in seven years on hopes of more stimulus measures.

China's mainland index jumped 1.9 per cent to 4,616.32 today (May 22nd) – the highest level since 2008 – after downbeat Chinese manufacturing data prompted the country's central bank to commit to more stimulus.

Beijing announced it will reform its financial markets this year, including measures to increase the yuan's role internationally, as well as changes in taxation, deposit rates and state-owned enterprises.

Asian markets were also boosted by an upbeat overnight session on Wall Street, as energy companies gained on rising oil prices. The Standard & Poor's was up 0.2 per cent at 2,130.82, the Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.34 points to 18,285.74 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.4 per cent to 5,090.79.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5 per cent to 2,134.11 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng soared 1.2 per cent to 27,863.25.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 per cent lower to 20,172.15 after the central bank said it would not change its annual stimulus program, reaffirming its assessment that the country's economy was recovering moderately. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped less than 0.1 per cent to 5,659.90.

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