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Asia – Pacific Stocks Drop as PMI Data shows Decline in Factory Activity.

Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped on Thursday as investors reacted to the release of Chinese economic data.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower as the Shanghai composite declined fractionally to 3,588.78 and the Shenzhen component slipped 0.81% to 15,038.88.

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Shanghai Composite Index Performance Chart

A private survey released Thursday showed Chinese factory activity growth slowing in June. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for June came in at 51.3 on Thursday, a lower reading than May’s 52.0.

PMI readings above 50 represent expansion, while those below that indicate contraction. PMI readings are sequential and show month-on-month expansion or contraction.

China’s official manufacturing PMI for June, released Wednesday, showed slower factory activity growth.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan shed 0.29% to close at 28,707.04 while the Topix index fell 0.22% to end the trading day at 1,939.21. The headline index for large manufacturers’ sentiment in the Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan business sentiment survey released Thursday came in at plus 14, up from a plus 5 reading in March.

South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.44% lower at 3,282.06. Australia stocks also edged lower on the day as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.65% to 7,265.60.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.35% while Markets in Hong Kong were closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 climbed 0.13% to 4,297.50 — its fifth-straight record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose about 210 points to 34,502.51. The Nasdaq Composite lagged as it dipped 0.17% to 14,503.95

Asian Markets Currencies & Oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.398 after seeing levels below 92.1 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.25 per dollar, sharply weaker than levels below 110.6 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7488, having slipped from above $0.756 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.42% to $74.93 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.52% to $73.85 per barrel.