Asian shares firmer after positive China data
Survey shows factory activity in China expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years in October
Shanghai — Asian shares reversed early losses on Friday as an unexpected bounce in Chinese manufacturing activity offset some negativity cast by a Bloomberg News report that raised doubts over whether the US and China can reach a long-term trade deal.
Factory activity in China expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years in October as export orders and production rose, a private business survey showed on Friday.
The expansion, which beat expectations and contrasted with the dour results of an official survey on Thursday, helped to boost Chinese blue chips, which rose 0.7%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3% and Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.42%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reversed early losses to add 0.16%, having hit three-month highs on Thursday.
The index’s performance reflected a results season that has shown companies to be more resilient than expected, said Jim McCafferty, head of Equity Research at Nomura.
“If you look at the micro data supplied by the companies, then it tells you that customers ... are continuing to do business. So I think that we are in a better state than perhaps investors thought we were just one month ago,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, losses had mirrored falls in global stock markets, as MSCI’s gauge of equity performance in 47 countries fell from 20-month highs after a report that cast doubt on the likelihood of a US-China trade deal.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.52%, the S&P 500 lost 0.30% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.14%.
Efforts by Washington and Beijing to end their bruising nearly 16-month trade war appeared on track as US. President Donald Trump said on Thursday said that the two sides would soon announce a new venue for the signing of a “Phase One” trade deal after Chile cancelled a planned summit set for mid-November.
Optimism was dampened by a Bloomberg report citing unnamed Chinese officials airing doubts over whether a comprehensive long-term trade deal is possible.
China’s doubts were “not entirely unexpected”, Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro, said in a morning note to clients, noting that the falls in equity markets were relatively small.
Retreats in the S&P 500 and the US 10-year Treasury yield indicated some technical resistance in the market, he said.
“Either way, today’s deluge of manufacturing PMI’s and then US nonfarm [payrolls] tonight will be an important factor in where markets head next,” McKenna said.
The Institute for Supply Management is due to release data from its survey of purchasing managers (PMI) on Friday. A separate PMI survey released on Thursday by the Chicago Federal Reserve showed a sharper contraction in Midwestern manufacturing activity for October.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was higher at 1.6962% compared with its US close of 1.691% on Thursday. The two-year yield, sensitive to market expectations of Federal Reserve policy, was at 1.5319%, up from a US close of 1.526%.
The Fed cut interest rates for a third time in 2019 on Wednesday to help sustain US growth, but signalled there would be no further reductions unless the economy takes a turn for the worse.
In the currency market, the dollar was a touch stronger than the safe-haven yen, adding 0.01% to 108.03.
The euro was 0.14% higher on the day at $1.1166, while the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.14% at 97.216 on the day.
US crude ticked up 0.33% to $54.36 a barrel and Brent crude rose 0.13% to $59.70 per barrel.
Spot gold eased 0.15% to $1,510.94/oz.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.