Asia Markets

Asia stocks mostly rise in final day of rough October; China data misses expectations

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia were generally higher in the afternoon of the final trading day of October.
  • The mainland Chinese markets saw gains despite the country posting lower-than-expected manufacturing growth for October.
  • Since the end of September, the Shanghai index has shed almost 7.5 percent and Shenzhen stocks have lost about 10.2 percent.

Stocks in Asia mostly posted positive results on Wednesday, pointing to a positive conclusion to what's been a brutal October for shares.

The mainland China markets, which have been hard hit, saw gains by the trading day's end: The rose 1.35 percent to close at around 2,602.78 and the Shenzhen composite advanced by 1.392 percent to finish at about 1,294.22.

Despite the day's rises, both indexes still saw losses for the month of October. Since the end of September, the Shanghai index has shed almost 7.5 percent and Shenzhen stocks have lost about 10.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also increased by 1.12 percent in afternoon trade.

Lower-than-expected manufacturing growth in China

The moves higher in mainland China came despite the country reporting lower-than-expected manufacturing growth in October.

Chinese official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was 50.2 — lower than the 50.6 that analysts expected in a poll. The official manufacturing PMI had been 50.8 in September.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction.

Japan gains as central bank keeps rates on hold

Japan's rose 2.16 percent to close at 21,920.46 and the Topix gained 2.15 percent to finish at 1,646.12.

Shares of Sony jumped 4.74 percent after the company lifted its annual profit forecast by 30 percent after a strong second-quarter.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady and cut its price forecasts on Wednesday. In a widely expected move, the Japanese central bank kept its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around zero percent.

Australia's benchmark ASX 200 gained 0.43 percent to close at 5,830.3 as the energy sector advanced 1.39 percent and materials gained 0.19 percent.

The heavily weighted financial subindex rose 0.93 percent with the shares of Australia's so-called Big Four banks seeing gains. Among those, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) rose 1.05 percent despite earlier reporting a 5 percent decline in full-year cash profit.

"In general the market is just more cautious," ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday following the earnings release. "It's also a lot more competitive."

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.74 percent to close at 2,029.69, with shares of heavyweight Samsung Electronics rising 0.12 percent. The stock's move came following the release of a record quarterly profit.

Currency moves

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.028 following a rally from the 96.6. handle yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.19 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 112.3 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.7093, strengthening from levels just below $0.706 seen yesterday.

Wall Street sees a bounce

Asian markets inherited positive momentum from Wall Street, where stocks jumped on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 431.72 points to close at 24,874.64 while the S&P 500 rose around 1.57 percent to finish at 2,682.63. The Nasdaq Composite also saw gains of 1.58 percent to end the trading day at 7,161.65.

The moves in the U.S. followed a shaky Monday session that saw stocks giving up sharp gains. Market participants attributed the action to the possibility of more U.S.-China tariffs, a drop in tech stocks and worries over higher interest rates for the decline.

— Reuters and CNBC's Huileng Tan, Thomas Franck, John Melloy and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.