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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as private survey shows China’s factory activity contracted in May


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific largely rose in Wednesday morning trade, with investors watching for market reaction to the release of a private survey on Chinese factory activity for May.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai Composite rising 0.1% while the Shenzhen Component was up fractionally. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.12%.

China’s Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May came in at 48.1 on Wednesday, an improvement over April’s reading of 46 but still remaining below the 50-level mark that separates expansion from contraction.

China’s official manufacturing PMI for May, released Tuesday, came in at 49.6 — an improvement over April’s reading of 47.4. The May reading was above the 48.6 level expected from a Reuters poll.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 0.62% while the Topix index advanced 1.16%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.23%. Australia’s gross domestic product grew 0.8% quarter-on-quarterly in seasonally adjusted chain volume terms during the first quarter, data from the country’s Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday. That was above expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.5% gain.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.1% lower.

Markets in South Korea are closed on Wednesday for a holiday.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 0.63% to 4,132.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 222.84 points, or 0.67%, to 32,990.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.41% to 12,081.39.

Currencies and oil

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.6% to $116.29 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.54% to $115.29 per barrel.

Those gains came on the back of a Monday agreement by the European Union for a ban on most Russian oil imports by the end of the year, along with investor optimism over a reopening in the major Chinese city of Shanghai following weeks of Covid-related lockdowns.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 101.981 after a recent decline from above 102.

The Japanese yen traded at 129.09 per dollar, weaker than levels below 127.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7177, still stronger than levels below $0.708 seen last week.

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