Asian Shares Mixed After Chinese Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as investors digested key data from China and Japan and looked ahead to forthcoming inflation readings in Europe and the U.S. for additional clues on the outlook for interest rates.

Weak U.S. economic data released overnight dampened the dollar’s strength, while oil prices were little changed in Asian trading after climbing on Wednesday on bullish inventory data and hurricane jitters.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.6 percent to 3,119.88 after official data showed manufacturing activity in the country shrank for a fifth straight month in August and non-manufacturing activity hit another low for the year, adding to the gloomy outlook.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent to 18,382.06, surrendering early gains as financial regulators vowed to take strong measures to create favorable conditions for the development of private enterprises.

Japanese shares advanced as investors reacted to mixed economic data. Japan’s industrial production fell more than expected in July, while retail sales increased 2.1 percent from the previous month, separate reports showed.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 0.9 percent to 32,619.34, extending gains for a fourth consecutive session led by automakers. The broader Topix Index settled 0.8 percent higher at 2,332.

Toyota Motor climbed 2.4 percent after posting record monthly global sales. Honda Motor gained 1.1 percent, Nissan Motor added 0.8 percent and Mitsubishi Motors rallied 1.5 percent.

Tech stocks such as Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings rose between 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent.

Seoul stocks ended lower after data showed factory output in the country fell again in July to reach its longest stretch of declines in decades.

The Kospi slipped 0.2 percent to 2,556.27, snapping a three-day winning streak. Korean Air, Naver and Samsung Biologics fell 1-2 percent.

Australian markets fluctuated before finishing slightly higher for the day. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,305.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.2 percent higher at 7,517.80.

Home retailer Harvey Norman Holdings rallied 5.2 percent after releasing its FY2023 results. Whitehaven Coal tumbled 3.3 percent on going ex-dividend.

Qantas Airways lost 2 percent after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action against the airline for allegedly selling tickets for flights it had already cancelled.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index rose 0.3 percent to 11,554.48.

U.S. stocks rose for a fourth consecutive session overnight and the dollar slipped as weak growth and labor market data raised hopes the Fed will not raise rates again this year.

While private payrolls posted the smallest gain in five months last month, a revised reading showed the U.S. economy expanded by 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2023, down from the initial estimate of 2.4 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose half a percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and the Dow added 0.1 percent.

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