Asia markets mostly higher; China prices shrink faster than expected

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

People walk through Exchange Square in Hong Kong on October 28, 2022. Major lenders Standard Chartered and HSBC expressed confidence in the rebound of Hong Kong's and China's economy, even as China ramps up its Covid measures and Hong Kong's economy posted its worst quarter in more than two years.
Isaac Lawrence | Afp | Getty Images

Most Asia-Pacific markets rose Thursday after indexes in the region fell for two straight days, while data from China showed consumer prices shrank faster than expected.

South Korea stocks ended marginally higher, after the benchmark Kospi, dropped 3.24% in the last two sessions, erasing more than half of what it gained earlier in the week when the country re-imposed a ban on short selling.

Government data showed October consumer prices shrank 0.2% year-on-year in China, more than the 0.1% fall expected by economists polled by Reuters. Producer prices declined 2.6%, slightly smaller than the expected decline of 2.7%.

The Kospi closed 0.23% higher at 2,427.08, inching higher after two days of declines.

The Kosdaq, however, shed 1% ending at 802.87. It fell for the third straight day.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dipped 0.22% in the final hour of trading, on pace for its third day in the red. China's CSI 300 index ended flat at 3,612.83.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.49% to reach 32,646.46, and the Topix gained 1.26% at 2,335.12.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.28% higher at 7,014.90.

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Overnight, U.S. markets closed higher as the S&P 500 rose for an eighth consecutive day on Wednesday, extending its longest win streak in two years.

The broad market index ended 0.1% higher to match an eight-day string of gains it notched in November 2021. The Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.08% at close in a ninth positive day and its longest string of gains in two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.12%, and snapped its best win streak since July.

— CNBC's Samantha Subin and Lisa Kailai Han contributed to this report

China's consumer prices decline in October

China's consumer prices fell in October as the world's second-largest economy struggled with an uneven post-Covid recovery.

Data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed the consumer price index slipped 0.2% year-on-year, more than the 0.1% decline expected by economists polled by Reuters.

This comes after China's CPI was unexpectedly flat in September, highlighting the need for further policy support.

Producer prices declined 2.6%, slightly smaller than an expected decline of 2.7% and marking the 13th straight month of declines.

Read the full story here.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Country Garden shares plunge 6% in volatile trading

Hong Kong listed shares of one of China's biggest property developers Country Garden plunged over 6% in volatile trading.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported China's State Council instructed the local government of Guangdong province to help arrange a rescue of Country Garden by Ping An Insurance Group.

Ping An denied the report in a statement later Wednesday, saying "the Reuters story is untrue, and that it has not received such requests from any relevant government departments/agencies."

Hong Kong shares of Ping An fell 1.43%, while the broader Hang Seng index dropped 0.32%.

China's CSI 300 was flat.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

CNBC Pro: 'Golden opportunity': Morgan Stanley says it's a good time to buy gold stocks — and names its top global picks

Now is a good time to buy gold stocks, according to Morgan Stanley.

Tensions in the Middle East, brought on by the Israel-Hamas war, had triggered a gold "safe-haven" rally as investments in the precious metal picked up. The rally has since fizzled and gold spot prices have moved up some 0.05% in the year to date.

Notably, however, gold stocks underperformed gold prices by about 20% in the last three months, the investment bank's analysts said, naming several stocks to play the "golden opportunity."

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

CNBC Pro: Want 8% yield? Buy 'fallen angels' in the U.S. bond market, BNP Paribas says

The bond bear market is the worst in more than 200 years, according to BNP Paribas' global chief investment officer.

But, he said, one corner of the bond market is an opportunity for investors: U.S. "fallen angels" in the high-yield credit segment.

CNBC Pro takes a look at some of the top-rated funds and exchange-traded funds, according to Morningstar.

Subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Stock pickers beat benchmarks in October as passive allocations grow

A rough October for the major averages made for a good month at least relatively speaking for stocks pickers, even as allocations to active strategies shrank, according to Bank of America.

Some 68% of large-cap active managers beat the for the month, well above what's typical. That brought the year-to-date beat rate to 41%, ahead of the 38% average. The average large-cap active fund lost 1.9%, compared to the 2.5% loss for the benchmark.

However, investors reduced their allocations to active funds, now down to 47% of total assets under management. Bank of America equity and quant strategist Savita Subramanian said managers are "benchmark hugging" as conviction over the market direction wanes.

Both value and core managers also had strong months, posting respective beat rates of 84% and 80%.

— Jeff Cox

Mortgage rates see biggest weekly drop in over a year

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances fell last week to 7.61% from 7.86% for the largest one-week decline in over a year.

Amid the pullback, total mortgage application volume rose 2.5% last week from a year ago, according to the the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.

— Diana Olick, Samantha Subin

Gasoline futures fall to lowest price since last Christmas as energy complex weakens

The energy complex has continued to move lower throughout the day Wednesday, sending the benchmark December RBOB gasoline futures as low as $2.1220 a gallon, the lowest since Dec. 16, 2022.

On the crude side, December West Texas Intermediate contracts touched a low of $74.91 per barrel intraday, while January Brent contracts touched a low of $79.20 a barrel, in both cases the weakest price since July 20.

The S&P 500 Energy Index is among the worst hit groups of stocks on Wednesday, dropping 0.9% in late day trading, and down almost 9% so far in the fourth quarter, the worst of the S&P 500's 11 main sectors.

Brent crude futures fell $2.07, or 2.54%, to settle at $79.54 a barrel. U.S. crude lost $2.04, or 2.64%, to settle at $75.33.

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S&P 500 Energy Index since Sept. 30.

— Scott Schnipper, Christopher Hayes