Asian stock markets were mixed yesterday, with stronger Chinese manufacturing data providing support as Tokyo’s rise was stunted by a huge slump in electronics giant Panasonic.
Wall Street’s lead was tepid in a quiet first session after superstorm Sandy had forced the market to close for two days.
Hong Kong gained 0.83%, or 180.05 points, to 21,821.87, while Shanghai surged 1.72%, or 35.55 points, to 2,104.43.
Tokyo closed 0.21% higher, gaining 18.58 points to 8,946.87. But Seoul eased 0.71%, or 13.62 points, to 1,898.44 and Sydney dropped 1.32%, or 59.4 points, to 4,457.6.
In other markets; Taipei closed 0.19%, or 13.59 points, higher at 7,179.64; Wellington fell 0.66%, or 25.99 points, to 3,931.88; Bangkok fell 0.07%, or 0.88 points, to 1,297.99; Singapore closed down 0.39%, or 11.76 points to 3,026.61; Kuala Lumpur gained 0.16%, or 2.62 points, to 1,675.69; while, Jakarta fell 0.34%, or 14.93 points, to 4,335.36; Mumbai rose 0.30%, or 56.32 points, to 18,561.7.
Data showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded in October for the first time in three months, adding to renewed optimism that the world’s number two economy is beginning to awake from its recent slumber.
The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 50.2 last month, better than 49.8 in September, according to official figures. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion while anything below points to contraction.
Separately, a survey by HSBC came in at 49.5 in October—from 47.9 in September—which, although still in contraction, represents another rise.
The official PMI had contracted in August and September because of a broader slump in the economy caused by weak demand in Europe and the US.
The official number is “showing that the economy is on the way to a moderate recovery”, said Grace Ng, senior China economist at JPMorgan.
She told Dow Jones Newswires it is “reinforcing the message that the economy has bottomed out”.
On Tokyo’s Nikkei, shares were weighed down by Panasonic, which dived almost 20% a day after it said it expected to post a loss of $9.6bn in the fiscal year to March.
The firm blamed the horrific estimate—a sharp reversal from its previous vow to return to the black by March—on restructuring costs and writedowns.
In Europe, Greece unveiled a tough new austerity budget as the European Union said there was still work to be done before the recession-hit country could access loan funds needed to stave off bankruptcy.
And data showed unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone hit a record high of 11.6% in September.