China data weighs on Asian stocks

BEIJING - Asian stocks were mostly lower Monday after Chinese manufacturing weakened while European markets rose after France endorsed Greek efforts to renegotiate bailout debt.

Germany's DAX added 0.7 percent to 10,768.71 and France's CAC-40 gained 0.4 percent to 4,622.42. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,780.49. Wall Street looked set to rebound from Friday's losses, with futures for the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor's 500 index both up 0.3 percent. On Friday, the Dow lost 1.5 percent and the S&P was down 1.3 percent.

Greece's new finance minister won support from Paris for his effort to renegotiate the debt for its bailout. Yanis Varoufakis, a member of a new ruling party that campaigned against the austerity terms of the Greek bailout, struck a conciliatory tone as he sought new conditions from creditors. Germany has criticized Greece's stance but French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Sunday that while his government wouldn't support canceling the debt, it was willing to consider a new time frame or terms. That is for now easing worries that Greece's new government might eventually leave the euro common currency.

Surveys by HSBC Corp. and a Chinese industry group found manufacturing activity in the world's second-largest economy weakened in January. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers' index fell to a 28-month low. A separate index by HSBC edged up but still showed activity contracting. Both blamed weak demand in China and abroad. Analysts said they expect this to prompt Beijing to inject more credit into the economy or launch other stimulus measures.

"We think demand in the manufacturing sector remains weak and more aggressive monetary and fiscal easing measures will be needed to prevent another sharp slowdown in growth" in China, said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index gave up 2.6 percent to 3,128.30 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was off 0.7 percent to 17,558.04. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent to 24,484.74. Seoul's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 1,952.86. Markets were mixed in Southeast Asia while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,625.30.

Crude slid after jumping Friday on signs American production is slowing following big price drops since last June. Oil plummeted about 60 percent since June as global supplies grew faster than demand. OPEC has declined to cut its production, putting pressure on U.S. companies to curtail drilling as oil prices fall to a level that makes some production unprofitable. U.S. benchmark crude was down $1.30 at $46.94 per barrel on Nymex. The contract surged by an unusually large margin of $3.71 on Friday, to close at $48.24. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed $1.43 to $51.56 a barrel in London after rising by $3.86 on Friday.

The dollar gained to 117.76 yen from Friday's 117.43 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1333 from $1.1285.