Asian stocks fell across the board on Monday, as investors digested a private survey which showed China's mammoth manufacturing sector remaining in a tough spot, though the pace of decline in factory activity slowed in October.
Caixin's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for October edged up to 48.3 from September's fresh six-and-a-half year low of 47.2, official data showed, contracting for an eighth straight month.
China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 49.8 for October, according to data released on Sunday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), contracting for a third straight month. The reading was unchanged from the previous month but missed market expectations of 50.0, adding to fears that the world's second-biggest economy may be stalling despite the latest slew of stimulus.
"Over the weekend, official manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs continue to point to challenges in China... but we think that the recent targeted stimulus measures will support the economy." analysts from Mizuho Bank wrote in a note issued on Monday. "Overall China may expand by 6.9 percent year-on-year this year, then pick-up to 7.1 percent next year."
Meanwhile, a crackdown by Beijing on illegal futures trading also hurt sentiment in China, after reports of an arrest and an international manhunt emerged over the weekend. According to state-owned Xinhua news agency, Xu Xiang, the manager of Zexi Investment, one of China's largest private money managers, was detained by police Sunday.
At least two mainland-listed stocks — Ningbo Kangqiang Electronics and Deluxe Family — that were bought by Zexi Investments fell by their daily 10 percent limit after news of the arrest.