Asian Shares Mixed After China Data Surprise

Asian stocks cut early losses to end mixed on Wednesday after a slew of Chinese data topped forecasts.

The undertone remained cautious somewhat after a deadly missile attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza killed more than 500 people including women and children.

Hamas attributed the blast to an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli military said it was not involved and the explosion was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

The dollar rally stalled after Chinese GDP, industrial output and retail sales data surprised on the upside.

Gold rose about 1 percent amid heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East while crude prices jumped nearly 2 percent on supply concerns.

Chinese shares fell sharply after data showed GDP grew at a 4.9 percent annual pace in July-September, down from 6.3 percent in the previous quarter but above forecasts for a 4.4 percent increase.

Retail sales and industrial output figures for September also surprised on the upside, while fixed asset investment and property investment figures for the first nine months of 2023 disappointed investors.

China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 0.80 percent to 3,058.71 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.23 percent to 17,732.52.

Japanese shares reversed course to end marginally higher. The Nikkei average ended little changed at 32,042.25 while the broader Topix index settled 0.14 percent higher at 2,295.34.

Oil company Inpex Corp soared 4.5 percent as a result of the jump in crude oil prices. Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial climbed 1-2 percent.

The Japanese yen jumped briefly earlier in the session after the Bank of Japan announced unscheduled bond purchases to stem a rise in yields.

Seoul stocks fluctuated before ending flat with a positive bias after data showed China’s economy gained momentum last quarter.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 1.6 percent while battery makers Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution both fell over 2 percent.

Australian markets eked out modest gains, led by mining and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.30 percent to 7.077.60 despite hawkish comments from central bank governor Michele Bullock.

The broader All Ordinaries index closed 0.29 percent higher at 7,265.70. Coal miner Whitehaven Coal jumped 11.5 percent after reporting a 33 percent rise in its first-quarter production.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 index finished marginally higher at 11,221.48.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight while Treasury yields rose as encouraging retail sales and industrial production data along with better-than-expected earnings from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs revived Fed rate hike fears.

The Dow inched up marginally, while the S&P 500 ended flat with a negative bias and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.3 percent.

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