Asian Shares Mixed After China Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency and a measure of China's manufacturing activity came in unchanged from the previous month in January.

The Chinese markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 0.52 percent after official data showed the manufacturing sector in China fell into stagnation in January - posting a manufacturing PMI score of 50.0, down from 50.2 in December.

The non-manufacturing index came in with a score of 54.1, beating forecasts for 53.0 and up from 53.5 in the previous month. Results of a private manufacturing PMI survey by Markit/Caixin will be released on Monday.

Japanese shares closed higher after the release of a slew of economic data. The Nikkei average climbed 227.43 points, or 0.99 percent, to 23,205.18, while the broader Topix index closed 0.58 percent higher at 1,684.44.

Tech stocks led the surge after Inc beat analysts' estimates for fourth-quarter revenue. Advantest rallied 3.5 percent and Tokyo Electron advanced 2.3 percent. Fujitsu soared 12 percent after posting upbeat earnings for the third quarter.

Japan's industrial output rose 1.3 percent sequentially in December, a government report showed. That beat expectations for a gain of 0.7 percent following the 1.0 percent decline in November.

Retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in the month, falling short of expectations for a gain of 1.2 percent following the 4.5 percent jump in November.

Overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region of Japan were up 0.6 percent year-on-year in January, while the unemployment rate came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.2 percent in December.

Australian markets ended slightly higher as tourism and travel-related stocks stabilized after suffering sharp falls earlier this week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 8.80 points, or 0.13 percent, to 7,017.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 12.60 points, or 0.18 percent, at 7,121.20.

Mining heavyweight BHP and smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group rose over 1 percent despite weaker commodity prices.

Investment services provider Link Administration Holdings soared 9.7 percent after it entered into a binding agreement to acquire buy Pepper Group's European loan servicing, advisory and asset management business for 165 million euros ($183.05 million).

Lender Commonwealth Bank edged down slightly after saying it would make a provision of A$83 million for insurance claims related to the recent bushfires in Australia.

ResMed climbed 3 percent as it reported a 13 percent increase in revenue for the second quarter from last year, reflecting growing demand for masks and other medical accessories.

Perpetual advanced 3.2 percent. The fund manager said it plans to acquire U.S.-based responsible investments firm Trillium Asset Management for $36 million in cash plus an earnout.

Private sector credit in Australia was up 0.2 percent sequentially in December, the Reserve Bank of Australia said today - in line with expectations and unchanged from November after an upward revision from 0.1 percent.

South Korea's Kospi average fell 28.99 points, or 1.35 percent, to 2,119.01 after data showed the country's industrial output growth hit a record low last year on weak activities in the manufacturing and construction industries. New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rising 51.79 points, or 0.44 percent, to 11,717.44. Air New Zealand rose 2.2 percent after scaling back services to China. Heavyweight a2 Milk Company lost 2 percent and Fletcher Building declined 1.8 percent.

New Zealand consumer confidence weakened marginally in January, survey data from ANZ showed today. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell to 122.7 from 123.3 in December.

U.S. stocks recovered from an early slide to finish modestly higher overnight after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, but said it wasn't recommending measures that unnecessarily interfere with international trade or travel.

While earnings results from the likes of Facebook and Microsoft proved to be a mixed bag, data showed that U.S. GDP growth in the fourth quarter stood unchanged from the previous quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite inched up around 0.3 percent each.



by WooHoo Ireland


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