Asian Shares Mixed After China Data

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Monday as Chinese data proved to be a mixed bag and investors avoided big bets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting this week.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) dropped to 49.2 from 49.6 in September, shrinking for a second month due to higher raw material prices and softer domestic demand.

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

China’s Shanghai Composite Index finished marginally lower at 3,544.48 amid fears that travel restrictions could be tightened in coming weeks ahead of the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 222.92 points, or 0.9 percent, to 25,154.32.

Japanese shares rallied to reach a one-month high after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party held on to power comfortably, paving the way for further fiscal stimulus measures.

“I want to make full use of this both in running the government and running parliament,” Kishida told a press conference.

Investors also cheered data showing that the manufacturing sector in Japan expanded at a faster pace in October.

The Nikkei 225 Index surged 754.39 points, or 2.6 percent, to settle at 29,647.08, while the broader Topix ended 2.2 percent higher at 2,044.72.

Market heavyweight SoftBank advanced 2.7 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing soared 4.2 percent. Automakers Toyota Motor, Nissan, Mazda Motor and Honda Motor climbed 2-4 percent on the back of a weaker yen.

Australian markets rose notably after the government eased curbs on international travel. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 47.10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,370.80 ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monthly policy meeting on Tuesday. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 53.10 points, or 0.7 percent, at 7,692.20.

Travel and tourism stocks rallied, with Webjet and Qantas rising 2-3 percent as the country allowed some of its vaccinated public to travel freely after more than 18 months.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. peers higher, with WiseTech Global surging as much as 5.5 percent. Lender Westpac slumped 7.4 percent after the lender delivered a smaller share buyback than many had expected.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains to snap a three-day losing streak after exports showed posted solid gains to expand for a 12th consecutive month in October but a measure of factory activity growth hit a 13-month low in the month.

The benchmark Kospi inched up 8.26 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,978.94. Chipmaker SK Hynix jumped 3.4 percent despite a drop in DRAM prices.

New Zealand markets started the month on a weak note, with the benchmark NZX-50 index finishing down 69.51 points, or 0.5 percent, at 13,030.31.

Transport stocks led losses, with Auckland Airport, Air New Zealand and Mainfreight declining 1-2 percent.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains on Friday to reach new record closing highs despite disappointing earnings results from tech giants Apple and Amazon and data showing a gain in employment costs and consumer inflation for September.

The Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose around 0.3 percent each, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.2 percent.

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