Asia report: Most markets rise as China services data surprises
Markets in Asia closed mostly higher on Friday, as traders in China returned from their week-long autumn break, with service activity in the country back in positive territory.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.34% at 28,048.94, as the yen weakened 0.2% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 111.85.
Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was up 0.89%, fashion firm Fast Retailing rose 1.41%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group jumped 2.84%.
The broader Topix index was 1.15% firmer by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,961.85.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 0.67% firmer on the first session after the ‘Golden Week’ of holidays, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite was ahead 0.79% at 2,413.92.
The unofficial Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index came in at 53.4 for September, it was reported earlier in the day, rising from the 46.7 reading for August.
That prior month level was the lowest reading since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the new September figure meaning the sector was now once again in the green, as the 50-point mark separates expansion from contraction.
South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.11% to 2,956.30, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong advanced 0.55% to 24,837.85.
Seoul’s blue-chip technology stocks were on the back foot, with SK Hynix down 1.78% and Samsung Electronics slipping 0.14%.
The losses for Samsung came despite the company indicating that its operating profit for the September quarter was looking to have grown 28% year-on-year to KRW 15.8trn.
That would be Samsung’s best quarterly profit in three years.
“The mood in Asia was mostly positive,” said Swissquote senior analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.
“The Caixin services PMI printed a surprise expansion in activity in September, as both new orders and employment bounced back.
“Encouraging data helped soothing investor angst after the second property company Fantasia failed to service its debt at the beginning of the week.”
Oil prices were higher as the region entered the weekend, with Brent crude last up 0.93% at $82.71 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate losing 0.96% at $79.05.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.87% at 7,320.10, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 lost 0.14% to 13,086.60.
The down under dollars were both weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.18% at AUD 1.3699, and the Kiwi retreating 0.05% to NZD 1.4440.