HONG KONG (AFP) – Asia’s markets were mixed Tuesday after a gauge of Chinese manufacturing beat expectations to show a pick-up in September, providing some respite for dealers concerned about the economic giant.
The dollar retreated following a recent rally, while on Wall Street the Dow edged down after clocking another record at the end of last week.
Shanghai jumped 0.87 per cent, or 19.85 points, to 2,309.72 and Sydney closed up 0.98 per cent, or 52.7 points, at 5,415.7.
But Hong Kong closed down 0.49 per cent, or 118.42 points, at 23,837.07 while Seoul fell 0.51 per cent, or 10.36 points, to 2,028.91.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
HSBC said a preliminary reading for its purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of manufacturing activity for September came in at 50.5, up from 50.2 in August. Anything above 50 indicates growth and anything below means a contraction.
The figures surprised analysts, who had been bracing for a sub-50 reading following a weak batch of output and trade data recently. Adding to the upbeat news, HSBC also said key sub-indexes on orders were also strong.
“Economic activity in the manufacturing sector showed signs of stabilisation in September,” HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement.
“Overall the data still point to modest expansion. The property downturn remains the biggest downside risk to growth,” Qu said.
The Dow retreated 0.62 per cent from Friday’s record high, on profit-taking as data showed an unexpected fall in US existing home sales in August, after four straight months of gains. The news dampened the outlook for a Fed rate rise.
The S&P 500 fell 0.80 per cent and the Nasdaq tumbled 1.14 per cent.
In foreign exchange trade the dollar eased to 108.30 yen from 108.94 yen in New York.
The greenback last week hit highs above 109 yen not seen since August 2008 after the Federal Reserve hinted that interest rates could rise further than expected when they are eventually increased, probably in mid-2015.
However, while the currency is seeing mild selling, economists predict it will breach 110 yen soon. The euro bought $1.2863 and 139.38 yen against $1.2850 and 139.78 yen.
The single currency is facing pressure after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said it is ready to pump more liquidity into the financial system but needed time to achieve the full effect.
Draghi noted that the eurozone economy was hobbling, and said the central bank would keep its easy monetary policy in place for some time to come.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery rose 13 cents to $91.00 while Brent crude for November gained 20 cents to $97.17 in afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,218.60 an ounce against $1,213.14 an ounce late Monday.