Asia Markets

Asia Pacific stocks mixed; private survey shows better-than-expected Chinese factory activity

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday.
  • The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index for June came in at 51.2. That was above expectations of a reading of 50.5 by analysts in a Reuters poll.
  • The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey released Wednesday showed a worsening business mood in the country. 
  • Markets in Hong Kong were closed for trading on Wednesday for a holiday.

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as a private survey showed China's factory activity for June was better than expected.

Mainland Chinese stocks led gains among the region's markets, with the Shanghai composite up 1.38% to about 3,025.98 while the Shenzhen component added 1.006% to around 12,112.96.

Elsewhere, shares in South Korea shed earlier gains as the Kospi finished its trading day slightly lower at 2,106.70. The Nikkei 225 in Japan also closed 0.75% lower at 22,121.73 while the Topix index fell 1.29% to end its trading day at 1,538.61.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.62% to close at 5,934.40. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for trading on Wednesday for a holiday.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.35%.

A private survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity in June growing more than expected, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) coming in at 51.2 last month. That was above expectations of a reading of 50.5 by analysts in a Reuters poll.

PMI readings above the 50-level signify expansion on a monthly basis, while those below that figure represent contraction. The official manufacturing PMI released Tuesday also showed factory activity in China expanding in June.

The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey released Wednesday showed a worsening business mood in the country. The headline index for large manufacturers' sentiment worsened to -34 in June — its lowest level since June 2009, according to Reuters — as compared with -8 in March.

"We knew that going into this Tankan report this is gonna be one for the record books, it was gonna be very bad but actually looking both the headline and content it's actually even worse than I expected," Izumi Devalier, head of Japan economics at Bank of America Global Research, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Wednesday.

"You've got this massive drop in manufacturing sentiment which wasn't the case three months ago," Devalier said. "That's a sign that the weakness in overseas demand is starting to spillover into the manufacturing sector as well."

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 217.08 points, or 0.9%, to close at 25,812.88. The S&P 500 gained 1.5% to end its trading day day at 3,100.29 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.9% to close at 10,058.77. The Tuesday moves stateside left markets wrapping up their best quarterly performance in decades

Oil prices jump

Oil prices rose in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.57% to $41.92 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 1.71% to $39.94 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.373 after touching an earlier low of 97.317.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.64 per dollar following its weakening from levels below 107.5 earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6906 after rising from levels below $0.685 yesterday.