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China stocks rise after factory activity data; Japan's Nikkei 225 closes below 40,000

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

China stocks rose Monday as investors assessed the country's business activity, while Japan stocks closed lower as business optimism fell.

China's National Bureau of Statistics data showed that manufacturing activity expanded in March, with the purchasing managers index registering a reading of 50.8, compared to February's reading of 49.1.

Economists polled by Reuters expected a reading of 49.9, which still represented a contraction in the sector.

The Caixin Global manufacturing survey for March showed China's factory activity expanded at its fastest rate in 13 months. The private PMI reading came in at 51.1, above expectations for 51.

China's CSI 300 index gained about 1.64% after the reading, closing at 3,595.65.

Separately, Japan's first-quarter Tankan survey showed that business optimism among large manufacturers fell, with the gauge at +11 compared with +12 in the last survey.

However, optimism among non-manufacturers rose, with the Tankan gauge at +34 compared with +30 in the fourth quarter and beating Reuters expectations of +33.

The survey gauges business sentiment, which the Bank of Japan monitors when formulating monetary policy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.4% to close at 39,803.09, well below the 40,000 mark. The broad-based Topix fell 1.71% to 2,721.22.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.04% to 2,747.86, and the small cap Kosdaq gained 0.77% to close at 912.45.

Australian and Hong Kong markets are closed for Easter Monday.

On Good Friday in the U.S., February's inflation rose in line with expectations from Dow Jones, with the the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy increasing 2.8% on a 12-month basis and up 0.3% from a month ago.