Asian markets were mixed yesterday as the effect of big Wall Street losses sparked by weak reports and forecasts from top US companies was offset by an improvement in Chinese manufacturing.
However, selling was also given impetus by concerns over Spain as well as profit-taking after an impressive run by global markets in recent weeks following easing measures in the US, Japan and Europe.
Tokyo closed 0.67% lower, shedding 59.95 points to 8,954.3, Seoul fell 0.67%, or 12.85 points, to 1,913.96 and Sydney ended down 0.82%, or 37.3 points, at 4,505.8.
Hong Kong ended 0.31% higher, adding 66.23 points to 21,763.78 while Shanghai edged up 0.07%, or 1.54 points, to 2,115.99.
Investors took fright at big falls in New York after poor earnings figures and guidance from DuPont, United Technologies, UPS, Xerox, Radio Shack and 3M suggested that the US corporate earnings boom is stalling.
Chemicals giant DuPont was the stand-out loser, lowering its 2012 outlook after posting a 98% fall in earnings in the three months to September. It also said it would cut around 1,500 jobs over the next 18 months.
Data out of Beijing yesterday indicated China’s manufacturing sector was showing signs of recovery. The HSBC Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) hit 49.1 this month, the highest level in three months and up from 47.9 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
While the figures mark the 12th straight month of contraction, they also represent the second consecutive monthly improvement and add to recent indications the economy is on the mend after a slowdown.
However, Qu Hongbin, HSBC’s chief economist for China, warned that problems in overseas economies including Europe and the US, as well as China’s job market, continue to pressure the economy.
“This calls for a continuation of policy easing in the coming months to secure a firmer growth recovery,” he said in a statement.
On currency markets the euro extended losses seen in New York late Tuesday. The single currency bought $1.2927 and ¥103.08 in late trade, compared with $1.2978 and ¥103.64 in New York.
The dollar was at ¥79.74 against ¥79.84.
Oil was higher, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, up seven cents to $86.74 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for December gaining 30¢ to $108.55.
Gold was at $1,708.50 at 1015 GMT compared with $1,710.66 late Tuesday.
In other markets, Taipei fell 0.31%, or 22.6 points, to 7,314.88; Manila closed 0.62% lower, shedding 33.63 points to 5,398.69; Wellington closed flat, edging down 2.81 points to 4,001.45; Singapore closed down 0.20%, or 6.20 points, at 3,044.73; Kuala Lumpur rose 0.19%, or 3.09 points, to 1,664.90; Bangkok fell 1.18%, or 15.42 points, to 1,295.00 and Jakarta closed up 0.12%, or 5.23 points, at 4,335.38.