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Asia stocks mixed after China PMI; India off record high

Asian equity markets were mixed on the first day of the month following a negative U.S. lead but signs of a continuing economic recovery in China helped lift sentiment.

Japan's Nikkei hit a one-week low while Australia's S&P ASX 200 closed down 0.3 percent. Amid gainers, the Shanghai Composite and South Korea's Kospi eked out modest gains while Indian shares briefly hit an all-time record high.

For the month of October, Australia's benchmark was the region's outperformer with gains of nearly 4 percent while the Nikkei was the laggard, down 2 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
---
HSI
---
ASX 200
---
SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
---
CNBC 100
---

China data in focus

Investors digested two separate readings of Chinese factory activity in the month of October. China's official purchasing manager's index (PMI) rose to 51.4 from 51.1 in September, beating Reuters' estimate of 51.2. Meanwhile, HSBC's final reading of factory activity hit a seven-month high, unchanged from last week's flash estimate.

"The broad message here is that China's economy is still holding up. It's not exactly red hot but it's good enough for the time being. The third quarter may have been the peak [for growth], we're going to go sideways into the fourth quarter. Next year, we expect a renewed deceleration but this is as good as it gets for the time being," said Frederic Neumann, MD & Co-Head of Asian Economics Research at HSBC.

Shanghai 0.4% higher

China's benchmark index stabilized in the afternoon session after bouncing between gains and losses in choppy trade, leading the index to post its first weekly gain in three weeks.

Financials were among the most actively traded on the back of October's PMI figures. Minsheng Bank led gains by over 2 percent while Haitong Securities ended 1.5 percent higher.

Commodity stocks were the index's best performers. Rare-Earth jumped nearly 5 percent while Xiamen Tungsten climbed 3 percent.

Nikkei falls 0.9%

Japan's benchmark index closed at its lowest levels in a week due to pessimism over the latest earnings but still managed to post a 0.8 percent gain for the week.

Sony plunged 11 percent after the tech heavyweight posted a wider quarterly annual net loss. Panasonic rallied 6.2 percent after swinging to a net profit from last year's loss.

TDK Corp fell 3.8 percent after its operating profit fell 17.4 percent in the six months ended September 30. Index heavyweight SoftBank rallied 3.4 percent after its July-September net profit rose 44 percent.

Apple suppliers Nitto Denko and NTT Data ended 2.1 and 4.8 percent lower after cutting their earnings guidance.

Sydney dips 0.3%

Trade in Australia's share market was subdued on the back of lower metal prices but the index still managed to post its fourth weekly gain.

Gold miners were dealt a blow as bullion prices traded near a two-week low. Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining ended 3.5 percent lower.

The nation's largest investment bank Macquarie rallied 4.2 percent after announcing a 39 percent rise in first-half net profit. National Australia Bank added nearly 1 percent on the news.

Bega Cheese surged 9.5 percent after New Zealand's Fonterra acquired a 6 percent shareholding in the firm.

Kospi rises 0.4%

South Korean stocks erased earlier losses after October's strong economic data. Exports rose a stronger-than-expected annual 7.3 percent while HSBC's purchasing manager's index (PMI) hit a five-month high.

Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbed over 2 percent following data from IHS that showed the tech firm is now one place behind Apple in terms of tablet market share.

India 0.1%

The Sensex index ended nearly flat after hitting anall-time record high of 21,294 earlier in the session.

By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC

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