Asian Stocks Mixed as China PMI Misses
Asian shares were mixed on Friday as a tepid Chinese manufacturing report dented sentiment, leaving investors on tenterhooks ahead of U.S. nonfarm payroll data due later in the day.
China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) eased to 50.4 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, missing market expectations for a rise an underscoring the fragility of the recovery from the economy's weakest year since 1999.
But a separate private survey showed that growth in China's giant manufacturing sector hit a two-year high in January as domestic demand strengthened, underlining hopes the nation's economic recovery is slowly gaining momentum.
Waiting on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report also kept investors on edge. The reports is forecast to show a rise of 160,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to remain steady at 7.8 percent.
Hong Kong shares eked out a gain for the week after an afternoon surge in the mainland Chinese market helped pare losses rooted in how an official survey of manufacturing activity in China lagged expectations.
The Hang Seng Index closed flat at 23,721.8 but inched up 0.6 percent on the week. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 0.7 percent on Friday and 1.8 percent this week.
Chinese property counters were broadly weaker after the official China Securities Journal newspaper reported that China will postpone expansion of a pilot programme to implement a property tax and that Beijing intends to keep a tight lid on the real estate market through other means in tier 1 cities.
Wynn Macau shed 2.3 percent, underperforming the Macau casino sector after getting hit by its parent company's underwhelming quarterly earnings. This was further aggravated by data showing Macau gambling revenue rose a lower-than-expected 7.3 percent from a year before.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings ended up 2.1 percent at 2,743.3, its highest close since November 2011. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.4 percent.
Japan's Nikkei share average marked its 12th straight week of gains, its longest winning weekly run in 54 years, as investors bought companies that sparkled during the earnings season and stayed optimistic that a weak yen would boost bottom lines.
The Nikkei edged up 0.5 percent to 11,191.34, marking a weekly gain of 2.4 percent that gave it the longest run of weekly gains since 1959. The broader Topix inched up 0.3 percent to 942.65.
South Korean shares extended falls after choppy trade, weighed down by China factory data that signaled the rebound in the world's second-biggest economy is shallower than hoped.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished down 0.2 percent at 1,957.59 points.
Australian shares resumed their upward climb, rising 0.9 percent as another jump in iron ore prices boosted miners and foreign investors continued to chase high-yielding stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 42.3 points at 4,921.1, its highest close since April 11, 2011. The index fell 0.4 percent on Thursday to break a 10-day run of gains.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 6.7 points to 4,245.9.
Both India's BSE and NSE indexes ended down 0.5 percent.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore's STI climbed 0.3 percent, while Malaysia's KLCI traded flat.