Asian Stock MarketsAsian Markets Mixed, Japan’s Nikkei 225 surges nearly 3%

People walk in front of an electric screen displaying Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan March 2, 2020. PHOTO | FILE

 Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Monday as investors reacted to economic data that showed a mixed picture of Chinese manufacturing activity in October.

Japanese stocks led gains regionally as the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.61% to close at 29,647.08, with shares of Fast Retailing soaring 4.22%. The Topix index climbed 2.18% on the day to 2,044.72. Those gains came after the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party held on to its single-party majority in a Sunday parliamentary election.

asian markets Chart
Nikkei 225 Performance Chart

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 0.88% lower at 25,154.32 while mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite fractionally lower at 3,544.48 and the Shenzhen component climbing 0.174% to 14,476.53.

Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong plunged after the country’s market regulators on Friday released a list of proposed responsibilities for the country’s internet platforms spanning areas such as governance and data security.

Shares of Tencent in Hong Kong dropped 2.37% on Monday while Alibaba slipped 2.15% and Meituan dipped 0.82%. Kuaishou Technology also declined 3.48% while JD.com fell 1.29%. The Hang Seng Tech index declined by 1.51%.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.28% to close at 2,978.94 while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.64% higher at 7,370.80.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.33%.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for October came in at 49.2 over the weekend, below the 50 levels separating expansion from contraction. It represented the second straight month of shrinking manufacturing activity in the country, following September’s official manufacturing PMI reading of 49.6.

However, a private survey released Monday showed Chinese manufacturing activity growth in October expanding — with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI coming in at 50.6.

PMI readings below 50 represents contraction while those above that level signify expansion. 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 at 94.25 after a recent jump from below 93.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.32 per dollar, weaker than levels below 113.4 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7494, following a decline from above $0.753 late last week.

Oil prices slipped in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.23% to $83.53 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.47% to $83.18 per barrel.

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