Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed after China PMI data; metal stocks rally


Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as investors reacted to key factory activity data from the mainland while metal stocks rallied on the back of higher copper and gold prices.

China's official purchasing manager's index (PMI) for June came in at a six-month high of 51, in line with expectations and up from 50.8 in May. Meanwhile, HSBC's final PMI reading for June rose to 50.7, weaker than a preliminary reading of 50.8 but higher than May's 49.4 figure.

Caution also set in following reports early on Tuesday that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko ended the unilateral ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country. The parties had implemented a ceasefire on June 20 but Poroshenko said the rebels had violated the truce several times.

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Nikkei rises 1%

Japanese shares closed Tuesday's trade at a one-week high after June manufacturing activity came in above expectations, which offset the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey that showed business sentiment dipping in the three months to June.

Also helping sentiment was a slightly weaker currency as the yen moved off a six-week high against the greenback.

Metal related stocks were the biggest winners with Pacific Metals and Toho Zinc both 5 percent higher as zinc prices approached a near three-year high.

Automakers rose following new figures that showed carmakers boosted investment in their U.S. plants by over $5 billion. Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor added 1.4 and 1 percent each.

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Shanghai up 0.1%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite closed marginally higher on Tuesday despite June's positive manufacturing data. Hong Kong stocks were closed for a public holiday.

Outperforming the bourse were gold miners; Shandong Gold was nearly 3 percent higher and Zhongjin Gold rose 2 percent as bullion prices traded at its highest level in over two years.

Jiangxi Copper surged 3.4 percent as copper prices rose to a near four-month high.

ASX 0.4% lower

Australian shares erased morning gains to end Tuesday in the red.

Condom maker Ansell dropped over 3 percent after announcing a steep profit warning and saying that it will restructure its global operations.

National Australia Bank widened losses to fall over 1 percent after saying it was exploring the possible strategic partnering for custody services.

As expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left interest rates on hold at a record low of 2.5 percent on late Tuesday. The central bank said that a period of stability in rates is likely to be "most prudent course."

The Australian dollar jumped to a session high of $0.9455 against the greenback on the RBA's decision.

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Kospi down 0.2%

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index remained downbeat for the day, after rising to its highest levels since June 12 in the previous session. Sentiment was unable to get a boost despite data showing that June exports rose an annual 2.5 percent, well above expectations.

Among blue chips, index heavyweight Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor lost 0.9 and 0.2 percent each