Asian Shares Mostly Higher After China Data

Asian stocks rose broadly on Monday after data showed China’s manufacturing activity kept up its steady expansion from a deep slump in October.

Chinese shares ended a choppy session on a flat note despite further signs of recovery in the country’s manufacturing sector. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.59 point at 3,225.12, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 352.59 points, or 1.46 percent, to 24,460.01.

The manufacturing sector in China continued to expand in October, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from Caixin revealed with a manufacturing PMI score of 53.6, up from 53.0 in September.

The data pointed to a marked improvement in business conditions across China’s manufacturing sector, with firms recording sharper rises in both output and total new work.

However, growth in new export sales softened notably amid a resurgence of the coronavirus across a number of export markets.

Japanese shares rallied as the yen weakened against the dollar and a survey showed the manufacturing sector in the country contracted at a slower pace in October.

The Nikkei average inched up 318.35 points, or 1.39 percent, to 23,295.48, snapping a five-day losing streak. The broader Topix index closed 1.81 percent higher at 1,607.95 ahead of a national holiday on Tuesday.

Japan Airlines rose 1.8 percent after saying it would retire all of its 13 B777s flown on domestic routes over the next three years.

Toyota added 2.2 percent on reports the automaker is boosting output in response to robust demand in China and the U.S. Sony gained 1.1 percent on the buzz it is close to buying U.S. animation distributor Crunchyroll.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending modestly higher. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 edged up 23.70 points, or 0.40 percent, to 5,951.30, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 14.20 points, or 0.23 percent, at 6,147.40.

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto ended on a flat note. Banks ANZ and NAB advanced 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Westpac Banking Corp shed 0.6 percent after the lender reported a 62 percent plunge in cash earnings for the year, reflecting a record fine for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

Wealth management conglomerate AMP surged as much as 9.8 percent. The company said a conditional buyout offer from U.S. private equity firm Ares Management had an implied value of A$6.36 billion ($4.47 billion).

Building materials maker CSR jumped 5.7 percent after announcing it will resume paying a dividend.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia climbed into expansion in October, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group showed with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 56.3, up from 46.7.

Another report revealed that the total number of building permits issued in Australia jumped a seasonally adjusted 15.4 percent month-on-month in September.

Seoul stocks rose ahead of the upcoming U.S. presidential election and a Federal Reserve policy meeting. The benchmark Kospi inched up 33.01 points, or 1.46 percent, to 2,300.16 after a 2.6 percent plunge in the previous session on Covid-19 resurgence concerns.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.4 percent, leading chemical maker LG Chem rallied 2 percent and top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 2.4 percent.

The manufacturing sector in South Korea climbed into expansion in October, the latest survey from IHS Markit showed with a manufacturing PMI score of 51.2, up from 49.8 in September.

New Zealand shares finished marginally lower as investors remained concerned about the risk of a contested U.S. election result because of a change in voting behavior due to Covid-19.

The benchmark NZX-50 index slipped 13.64 points, or 0.11 percent, to 12,070.83. Lender Heartland Group Holdings slumped 5.2 percent in reaction to a weak earnings result from Westpac.

The total number of building consents issued in New Zealand advanced a seasonally adjusted 3.6 percent month-on-month in September, Statistics New Zealand said today – following the downwardly revised 0.2 percent increase in August (originally 0.3 percent).

U.S. stocks fell on Friday as uncertainty loomed large over the presidential election, big tech companies reported mixed earnings and the U.S. broke its single-day record for new coronavirus infections.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 percent to end at a three-month closing low, while the S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined as much as 2.5 percent to reach their lowest closing levels in over a month.

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