Asian Markets Mixed, China’s Factory Activity Grows
Shares in Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Wednesday as official data showed China’s factory activity growing in March.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.63% while the Topix index declined 0.68%. South Korea’s Kospi, on the other hand, rose 0.19%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.61% and the Shenzhen component shedding 0.952%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dipped 0.31%.
Shares in Australia were higher as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.69%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares slipped 0.09%.
Shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 3.49% in afternoon trade after the firm’s brokerage arm flagged potential losses of around $300 million due to an event at its European subsidiary in relation to an unnamed U.S. client.
Shares of Nomura in Japan continued to see a third straight day of losses on Wednesday and fell more than 2%. Nomura’s stock plunged more than 16% on Monday.
Elsewhere, shares of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.46% in afternoon trade. That move came despite the firm announcing it will temporarily suspend production at its No. 1 plant in Ulsan, South Korea, from April 7 to 14.
In a statement, Hyundai said the suspension was due to “supply conditions” of semiconductor parts for the front view camera system of the Kona sport utility vehicle as well as power electric modules for the Ioniq 5.
China’s Factory Developments
official data showed China’s factory activity expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in March.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 51.9, according to the National Bureau of Statistics — compared to February’s reading of 50.6. Analysts had expected a reading of 51 for March
PMI readings above 50 signify expansion while those below that level represent contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.
Asian Markets Currencies and Oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.411 after rising from levels below 93 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 110.85 per dollar as it remained weaker than levels below 109.2 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7607, having slipped from around $0.765 yesterday.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up about 0.4% to $64.38 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.53% to $60.87 per barrel.