Asia report: Most markets rise as China manufacturing continues to grow
Most markets in Asia finished in the green on the first trading day of the year on Monday, as investors digested manufacturing data out of China and reacted to a jump in oil prices.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.68% at 27,258.38, as the yen strengthened 0.43% to JPY 102.76.
Automation specialist Fanuc was up 0.34%, while among the benchmark’s other major components, fashion firm Fast Retailing was down 1.54% and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was 0.62% weaker.
The broader Topix index lost 0.56% by the end of trading in Tokyo, settling at 1,794.59.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was ahead 0.86% at 3,502.96, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite leapt 2.45% to 2,386.54.
The unofficial Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), released on Monday, showed the sector’s output continuing to expand in December, with the month’s reading coming in at 53.0.
That compared to the 54.9 reading in November, indicating that the country’s manufacturing activity was still expanding as it was above 50 points, albeit at a slower pace than in the prior month.
Beijing’s official manufacturing PMI, released last Thursday, also showed a slowing in the sector’s growth, falling to 51.9 in December from 52.1 in November.
South Korea’s Kospi grew 2.47% to 2,994.45, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was 0.89% firmer at 27,472.81.
Chinese property developers were on the back foot in the special administrative region, however, after the People’s Bank of China moved to cap bank property loans.
China Evergrande Group was down 5.1%, China Vanke lost 2.99%, and Sunac China was off 5.41%.
The blue-chip technology stocks were stronger in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 2.47% and SK Hynix leaping 6.33%.
Oil prices continued to rise at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last up 1.54% at $52.60 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate ahead 1.05% to $49.03.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.47% by end-of-play in Sydney, closing at 6,684.20.
Across the Tasman Sea, markets in New Zealand remained closed for the second day of that country’s New Year holiday.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.39% at AUD 1.2928, and the Kiwi advancing 0.55% to NZD 1.3835.