China's factory activity at lowest reading since April; Hong Kong stocks briefly rise 2%

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Workers work on a speaker production line at Luyang Electronics Co LTD in Fuyang City, Anhui Province, China, Oct 31, 2022.
CFOTO | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific shares were mostly higher on Wednesday as the reading for China's November factory activity fell short of expectations, dropping to the lowest reading since April 2022.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index briefly rose 2% in its final hour of trade, with the Hang Seng Tech index trading 2.66% higher. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite closed little changed at 3,151.34, while the Shenzhen Component gained 0.176% to 11,108.50.

Chinese health officials on Tuesday announced measures to boost vaccination among the elderly, an indicator which is seen as important for reopening the economy, while saying it is "closely watching the virus" for developments when asked if the ongoing unrest would lead to a shift in its zero-Covid policy.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 pared earlier losses and traded 0.43% higher after its monthly inflation indicator showed some slowing for October, and closed at 7,284.20. The Nikkei 225 shed 0.21% to 27,968.99 and the Topix slipped 0.37% to 1,985.57.

South Korea's Kospi reversed losses to rise 1.61% to 2,472.53. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.18%.

Japan's Fast Retailing and electric-vehicle maker Xpeng are set to report earnings, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will be delivering a speech at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday.

Overnight in the U.S., major indexes ended the session lower.

Bitcoin briefly crosses $17,000 to highest levels since mid-November

The price of bitcoin briefly surpassed $17,000 in Asia's morning session for the first time since mid-November.

Bitcoin rose 2.2% from the 24 hours previous, according to Coin Metrics and last traded at $16,863.07 per coin.

Ether also rose, and was up 4.74% in the past 24 hours, trading at $1,268.46.

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– Jihye Lee

Australia's monthly inflation indicator shows slight slowing

Australia's consumer price index for October slowed to 6.9% on an annualized basis, from 7.3% in September, according to a monthly indicator by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The rise in prices for housing, food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as transport led the overall CPI indicator higher.

– Jihye Lee

China's factory activity misses expectations, contracts for a second straight month

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for November came in at 48, below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

That's lower than the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who predicted a reading of 49. October's PMI was 49.2.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month changes in factory activity.

— Abigail Ng

Bilibili shares pop in Asia morning session

Hong Kong-listed shares of Bilibili popped as much as 12.7% in Asia's morning after the company beat revenue estimates for the third quarter of the year.

Net revenue came in at 5.79 billion Chinese yuan ($809.8 million), 11% higher than the same period in 2021. Estimates from Refinitiv Eikon predicted revenue of 5.52 billion yuan.

Net losses narrowed to 1.7 billion yuan, and average monthly active users grew 25% on an annualized basis.

U.S.-listed shares of the company soared 22% overnight, while the Hong Kong shares were last up 8.47%.

— Abigail Ng

South Korea, Japan industrial production data comes in worse than expected

South Korea and Japan's industrial production each saw declines for the month of October.

Japan's preliminary industrial production for October declined 2.6% compared to a month ago, more than expectations of a decline of 1.5%, according to a Reuters poll.

The reading marks the second consecutive decline after seeing a fall of 1.7% the previous month.

South Korea's industrial production also fell by 3.5% compared with a month ago, also lower than expectations of a decline of 1%. The reading marked the lowest since May 2020, when output declined 6.7%.

– Jihye Lee

China's factory activity expected to contract for a second straight month

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for November is expected to come in at 49, below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

That's slightly lower than the reading of 49.2 reported in October.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month changes in activity.

— Abigail Ng

China says it is 'closely watching' virus developments when asked about shift in policy

Chinese health authorities said that officials are "closely watching" the developments of Covid when asked if protests in the region would lead to shifts in its zero-Covid policy.

"China has been following and closely watching the virus as it evolves and mutates," officials said, according to a translation of Tuesday's briefing.

– Christine Wang, Evelyn Cheng

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs' Currie says oil stocks are trading 'far below' their long-term trend

Goldman Sachs' Global Head of Commodities Research Jeff Currie told CNBC that historically, oil stocks have traded at a much higher premium to crude oil prices compared to current price levels.

For instance, the price gap between SPDR Oil & Gas ETF and ICE Brent Crude futures contract was about $66.60 on Tuesday. That's significantly lower than the $104 gap recorded at the start of January 2017, according to Koyfin data, as the chart below shows.

Currie told CNBC what he thinks could happen next to energy stocks.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

China announces measures to boost elderly vaccination

China's health authorities released a plan to boost elderly vaccination, according to a notice on the National Health Commission's website.

Hong Kong-listed shares of CanSino Biologics extended gains in the afternoon session and rose as much as 18% shortly after the announcement was posted.

The notice said authorities should use multiple data points to accurately identify target groups for vaccination for the elderly.

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Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: As Wall Street gets bearish, these stocks with margin growth could be safe bets

Wall Street pros are worried about the outlook for stocks, and are urging investors to stay defensive. These stocks with margin growth could be safe bets.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Nasdaq and S&P 500 post third day down

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 3.07 points, or 0.01%, higher after trading down for much of the day. The index ended the day at 33,852.53.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite finished lower by 0.59%, to close at 10,983.78. The S&P 500 slipped by 0.16% to close at 3,957.63.

— Alex Harring