Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday even as surveys showed factory activity continued to expand in key Asian economies in May, thanks to an ongoing recovery in global demand.
Chinese shares eked out modest gains after data showed the country’s manufacturing sector expanded at a faster pace in May on robust new orders and production. The Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 52.0 in May, the highest level since December and inching up from 51.9 in April.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 9.24 points, or 0.26 percent, to 3,624.71 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 316.20 points or 1.08 percent, to 29,468.
Japanese shares edged lower investors awaited U.S. factory activity numbers and payrolls due this week for further clues on the outlook for the world’s biggest economy.
The Nikkei average slipped 45.74 points, or 0.16 percent, to 28,814.34, while the broader Topix index closed 0.17 percent higher at 1,926.18.
Steelmakers led losses, with JFE Holdings and Nippon Steel ending down 4.3 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. Pharmaceutical stocks also lost ground, with Daiichi Sankyo giving up 2.6 percent.
Renesas Electronics rallied 3.3 percent. The chipmaker said restoring full production capacity at a fire-damaged chip plant in Japan would take longer than expected.
The manufacturing sector in Japan continued to improve in May, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed earlier today with a revised manufacturing PMI score of 53.0, up from 52.5 in April.
Australian markets ended slightly lower as Victoria reported 9 new COVID cases and the Reserve Bank of Australia announced no changes to policy settings, as widely expected.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 19 points, or 0.27 percent, to 7,142.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 14.60 points, or 0.20 percent, at 7,392.10.
Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac fell between 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent. Miners advanced as iron ore futures surged. Rio Tinto gained 0.7 percent, Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.7 percent and Mineral Resources climbed 3 percent.
Gold miners Evolution and Northern Star Resources ended down over 1 percent.
Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos rose over 1 percent after crude oil prices climbed overnight. Nine Entertainment Co Holdings rose 0.7 percent after signing multi-year content-supply deals with Google and Facebook.
In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia expanded at a faster pace in May the latest survey from IHS Markit Economics revealed with a survey record manufacturing PMI score of 60.4.
Seoul stocks extended gains for the third day running amid economic optimism after data showed the country’s exports jumped 45.6 percent on-year in May to extend their gains to a seventh consecutive month. The benchmark Kospi inched up 17.95 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 3,221.87.
Chipmaker SK Hynix and internet giant Naver both rose over 1 percent while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dropped 1.5 percent.
New Zealand shares rose sharply, with the benchmark NZX 50 index ending up 141.75 points, or 1.15 percent, at 12,462.47 as bargain hunters snapped up beaten-down dairy stocks. A2 Milk surged 3.2 percent and Synlait Milk shares jumped as much as 8 percent.
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