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Nikkei Asia300 index extends gains on bets US rate hike likely delayed

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan extended last week's rally on Monday, amid bets interest rates in the U.S. will likely remain low for a longer-than anticipated period. Better-than-expected economic data from China also boosted regional markets.

The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 0.2% to 1,276.84, adding to last week's over 3% gains. China Merchants Port Holdings jumped 5.1% in Hong Kong after saying it expects first-half net profit to rise at least 50%. The H-shares of China Life Insurance added 3.2% after reporting an 18% increase in accumulated premium income for the first six months of the year. Ping An Insurance Group advanced 2.3%. The Nikkei index for China edged 0.1% higher. India's Wipro rose 3.1% after the software exporter said it will consider a buyback proposal at its board meeting on July 20.

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