By Willa Plank
Asian markets were mixed Tuesday after the release of encouraging economic data from China and decisions by the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of Australia to largely hold their policies steady.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 1.1% and the Shanghai Composite was 0.3% higher. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which focuses on large mainland Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong, was up 2.1%. All three indexes were buoyed by better-than-expected data on Chinese manufacturing activity.
China's official manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 51.2 in October from 50.4 in September, adding to signs that the world's second-largest economy is stabilizing. A measure above 50 indicates growth.
"It's really good...generally, it's very encouraging," said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets, about the PMI data. "I think that it's going to provide support for industrial metals."
Separately, the Caixin manufacturing PMI for China came in at 51.2 in October, up from 50.1 in September.
Japan's central bank kept its policies mostly unchanged Tuesday. The BOJ said it would keep its deposit rate steady at minus 0.1% and would continue to target a zero yield for 10-year Japanese government bonds. Its only notable move was to push back the timeline for achieving 2% inflation by one year, to fiscal 2018.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was largely flat--down just 0.01%--after the BOJ decision, while the yen slipped 0.1% against the dollar.
The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate target unchanged at 1.5% in a widely expected decision, saying this was consistent with its growth and inflation targets.
The Australian dollar gained 0.5% against the U.S. dollar after the country's central bank held rates steady, in line with expectations. For the year, the Aussie dollar has gained 5.1% against the U.S. currency.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was trading down 0.8%, as Woodside Petroleum declined 1.8% and BHP Billiton was down 1.2%.
South Korea's Kospi benchmark was trading slightly down at 0.2% after the release of export data.
Korean exports shrank in October, crimped by the global recall of Samsung Electronics' defective Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. But the pace of decline was slower than in the previous month. Exports declined 3.2% in October from a year earlier, largely in line with the median market forecast for a 3% drop. That followed a 5.9% fall in the previous month. Imports decreased 5.4% from a year earlier.
Analysts say they expect South Korea's overseas shipments will likely stay under pressure as Samsung's sales continue to be hit by the Note 7 crisis.
Shares of Japanese electronics maker Panasonic were down 6.8% after the company cut its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending in March, citing slower earnings from residential solar panels and information technology devices. Industrial robot maker Fanuc was down 4.7% in Tokyo after it posted slower sales and profits for the half-year ended in September.
The market will be keeping an eye on the U.S. Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing PMI data due out later Tuesday, U.S. monthly jobs data set to be released Friday and, of course, the nation's presidential election next week.
Kwanwoo Jun, Kosaku Narioka and Liyan Qi contributed to this article.
Write to Willa Plank at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 01, 2016 02:03 ET (06:03 GMT)
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