Asian equity markets traded mixed on Thursday, as traders reacted to key economic data from Asia's two biggest economies. Declining commodity prices also weighed on resource-heavy bourses in the region.
In Japan, exports rose 9.6 percent on an annual basis, data from the Ministry of Finance showed early Thursday, above the 4.5 percent rise forecast from Reuters, and following a 6.9 percent rise in September. Imports, meanwhile, rose 2.7 percent from the year-ago period, below expectations of a 3.4 percent rise and after rising 6.2 percent in September.
This brought the trade deficit to 710 billion yen, better than expectations of a 1.05 trillion yen deficit.
China's factory activity stalled in November as output shrank for the first time in six months, a private survey showed on Thursday. The HSBC flash purchasing managers' index (PMI) for November clocked in at the breakeven level of 50, which separates expansion from contraction, compared to a Reuters estimate for 50.3 and following the 50.4 final reading in October.
Wall Street overnight
U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with benchmarks at or near all-time highs, as Wall Street took minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting in stride.
U.S. Fed officials are worried that inflation may stay low "for quite some time" despite the central bank's multi-trillion dollar effort to jump start the economy, according to minutes from the October meeting released Wednesday. Open Market Committee members also discussed how they should go about raising interest rates, and expressed some worry over market volatility during the process.