Asia Markets

Shanghai Comp outperforms as Beijing curbs short-selling

Asian shares traded mixed on Tuesday, as a slightly calmed negative sentiment triggered by disappointing manufacturing data from the world's top two biggest economies.

In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management's index of national factory activity missed expectations to come in at 52.7 in July, while the final reading for Caixin China purchasing managers' index (PMI) released on Monday stood at a two-month low of 47.8.

Meanwhile, policy decisions announced in Australia and India also kept investors on edge.

Wall Street ended lower overnight, as tumbling oil prices dragged down energy shares amid lackluster economic data. The slipped 0.5 percent, while the S&P 500 and the were about a quarter of a percent lower.

Shanghai Comp jumps 3.1%

China's Shanghai Composite index more than doubled gains in late-hour trading to chalk up the bourse's biggest daily gain since July 10, encouraged by news that authorities have stepped up their crackdown on short-selling of shares.

According to media reports, China's two main stock exchanges unveiled new rules that would make it even more difficult for speculators to profit from hourly gyrations in stock prices. Citic Securities, Huatai Securities and smaller rival China Great Wall Securitieshave announced that they will temporarily suspend their short-selling services.

Among gainers, heavyweight PetroChina climbed 1.7 percent following news that the oil and gas company won the dismissal of a U.S. class-action lawsuit arising from an alleged bribery scheme.

Hang Seng slips 0.1%

Hong Kong's index fell back slightly into negative territory late Tuesday.

Gaming shares were in focus after data showed gaming revenue in Macau fell 34.5 percent in July from the previous year, hovering around five-year lows. Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment nursed modest losses, but SJM Holdings gained 0.7 percent.

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Nikkei sheds 0.1%

Japan's Nikkei 225 index nudged down on the back of persisting worries over China and the fall in commodity prices.

Stocks with exposure to the mainland extended losses on Tuesday; construction equipment maker Komatsu and Hitachi Construction Machinery closed down 2.3 and 1.8 percent, respectively, after Monday's weak manufacturing activity data.

Among commodity-related plays, Inpex receded 1.6 percent, while Mitsubishi Materials Corp and Sumitomo Metal Mining ended down 1.9 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Toyota Motor slumped 1 percent ahead of the release of April-June quarterly results after the market close.

Outperforming the bourse, Suzuki Motor rallied 4.3 percent on the back of news that U.S. activist investment fund ThirdPoint has placed a bet on the Japanese firm, citing the automaker's dominance in India.

ASX gains 0.3%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index ended in the black on Tuesday, but pulled away from a more than 3-month high attained during the session as financials trimmed gains.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking closed up 0.8 and 0.3 percent, respectively, but National Australia Bank and Westpac notched down 0.1 and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Among gainers, Suncorp Group piled on 1.5 percent after posting a 55.2 percent rise in full-year net profit, while consumer discretionary plays such as Harvey Norman and Myer soared 6.1 and 3.2 percent, respectively, after retail sales came in better than expected.

Underperforming the index, Santos led losses in the energy arena with a plunge of 2.6 percent, as the fall in oil prices showed no signs of abating.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held its cash rate unchanged at a record low of 2 percent on Tuesday, prompting the Australian dollar to widen gains against the greenback. The local currency moved up to $0.7310, from $0.7296 prior to the announcement.

RBA 'running out of room to cut rates': Expert

Kospi rises 1%

South Korea's Kospi index recovered significantly from Monday's near five-month closing low, helped by bargain hunting in specific stocks.

SK Innovation, SK Hynix and LG Display surged between 1.8 and 4.7 percent as bargain hunters swooped in following recent falls.

Airlines also rose on expectations of an increase in travel demand after South Korea declared the country effectively out of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines soared 11.4 and 9.2 percent, respectively.

Lotte Shopping pared losses to climb 0.8 percent, while Lotte Chemical recouped Monday's losses to advance 3.3 percent, as a family feud surrounding the nation's fifth-largest conglomerate continued in the backdrop.

Shares of Hyundai Motor closed up 0.4 percent after swinging between gains and losses, while sister firm Kia Motors reversed a negative open to rebound 0.9 percent, undeterred by news that combined auto sales fell 8 percent on-year in July.

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Rest of Asia

India's 50-share Nifty index dropped 0.9 percent following the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision to stand pat on its key repo rate at 7.25 percent.

Malaysia's benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI tanked 1.1 percent, while the ringgit hovered near a fresh 17-year low of 3.8600 against the greenback as a political scandal linked to a probe into the finances of debt-ridden state investment company 1MDB damaged sentiment toward the country.

In Singapore, commodity trader Noble Group surged 23.4 percent, chalking up a second straight day of gains related to a statement it made early Monday defending its accounting and notifying stakeholders of approaches by possible investors.