Asia report: Markets mixed as China returns from holiday
Markets in Asia finished in a mixed state on Friday, as traders in mainland China returned to their desks following a long autumn holiday, with fresh economic data from the mainland being digested as well.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.12% at 23,619.69, as the yen strengthened 0.13% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 105.89.
Fashion firm Fast Retailing managed gains of 2.87%, while among the benchmark’s other major components, automation specialist Fanuc was down 1.06% and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group lost 1.24%.
The broader Topix index was 0.49% weaker by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,647.38.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 1.68% firmer at 3,272.08, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite managed gains of 3.09% to 2,215.96.
Fresh data out of China showed expansion for the services sector, with the unofficial Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index coming in at 54.8 for September.
That was well above the 50-point level, which separates expansion from contraction.
South Korean markets were closed for a holiday, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 0.31% at 24,119.13.
Biopharmaceutical firm Everest Medicines rocketed 32.27% in its debut session in the special administrative region.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the likelihood of fiscal stimulus stateside, remained at the top of the agenda on Friday, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about a stimulus plan overnight.
That came after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was pulling out of talks earlier in the week, in preference for various stimulus bills for different sectors.
“The coronavirus stock market rally is hungry for another stimulus package, and pretty much every day, we are getting mixed news on this,” said AvaTrade chief market analyst Naeem Aslam.
“Yesterday, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled out the standalone aid package.
“However, Donald Trump made a u-turn on his earlier stance on stimulus and said that stimulus negotiations are back on track.”
That, Aslam said, increased volatility in the markets, with that kind of turbulence likely to remain “for the next few weeks” too.
Oil prices were lower as the region entered the weekend, with Brent crude last down 1.06% at $42.88 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate off 1.19% at $40.70.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was broadly flat, gaining just 0.003% to 6,102.20 by end-of-play in Sydney.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was 0.36% firmer at 12,280.54, reaching another record high after Thursday’s close.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.25% at AUD 1.3914, and the Kiwi advancing 0.42% to NZD 1.5127.