Asia traders

Asian Markets Mixed as Investors; China’s August PMI Lower

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as investors reacted to regional economic data releases.

Mainland Chinese stocks shed earlier gains and were lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down fractionally while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.252%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.31% lower.

A private survey showed China’s services sector activity expanding in August. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managing Index (PMI) came in at 54.0, as compared to July’s reading of 54.1.

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

Following the PMI data release, the onshore Chinese yuan traded at 6.83 against the greenback after an earlier low of 6.8373 per dollar. The Chinese currency’s offshore counterpart changed hands at 6.8306 per dollar.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.32%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.12%while the Topix index also gained 0.6%.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia notched higher by 0.74%. The moves came as Australian Bureau of Statistics trade data for July showed exports declining 4% month-on-month. Imports, meanwhile, saw a 7% increase in July as compared to the previous month.

On the back of that data, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7319, having slipped yesterday from levels above $0.735. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.12%.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.5% to end its trading day at 3,580.84 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 1% higher at 12,056.44. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs, with the Nasdaq topping 12,000 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw its first close above 29,000 since February as it advanced 454.84 points, or 1.6%, to close at 29,100.50.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.847 following its bounce from levels below 92 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.24 per dollar after weakening from levels around 106 against the greenback yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures above the flatline at $44.44 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.14% to $41.57 per barrel.

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