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Asian markets gain on positive Chinese data

Asian markets gain on positive Chinese data

Most Asian stock markets clawed higher Wednesday after data showed the region's two biggest economies are inching toward economic recovery.
Investors seemed to brush off an overnight drop on Wall Street, where strocks were dragged down by an unexpected drop in U.S. consumer confidence. Many were counting on Thursday's release of U.S. jobs data for signals on whether recovery hopes are justified after a three-month rally in global markets.
"We'll tread water for awhile. It depends on the numbers coming out of the largest economy in the world," said Lucinda Chan, a director at Macquarie Private Wealth in Sydney.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index was up 97.04 points, or 1 percent, to 10,055.48 and South Korea's Kospi gained 1.8 percent to 1,414.56. Hong Kong's market was closed for a public holiday.
Elsewhere, Australia's main index fell 1.8 percent, while Taiwan's index jumped 2.2 percent a day after the island's government announced it had opened key parts of the manufacturing and services sectors to Chinese investment.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index added to its huge rally, climbing 1 percent to 2,989.54. For the first half of the year that ended Tuesday, the index surged 62.5 percent.
Chinese manufacturing expanded in June, two surveys showed, adding to signs the world's third-largest economy is rebounding from the collapse in global trade, even though few new jobs were created.
Brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said its purchasing managers index rose to 51.8 from May's 51.2 on a 100-point scale where numbers above 50 show activity expanding. The state-sanctioned China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its own PMI edged up slightly to 53.2 from May's 53.1.
In Tokyo, the central bank's "tankan" survey reflected a slight uptick in gloomy corporate sentiment, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is crawling rather than sprinting out of recession.
The most-watched index of the quarterly survey, which measures confidence at major manufacturers, rose to minus 48 from minus 58 in March, its worst reading ever. The figure represents the percentage of companies saying business conditions are good minus those saying conditions are unfavorable. The lower the number, the greater the pessimism.
The results were a bit worse than expectations, but still fell within tolerable levels and pointed toward a gradual economic recovery. Industrial production in Japan has bounced back in recent months after tumbling earlier this year.
In the second quarter, the Nikkei index soared 23 percent in its best three-month performance since 1995. Further gains are likely in store this quarter, said Takuro Hayashi, an equity analyst, at Cosmo Securities in Tokyo.
"Stocks may cool off at one point, but the overall outlook looks strong," Hayashi said.
U.S. stock index futures were up modestly, suggesting Wall Street would rebound from Tuesday's drop. Dow Jones industrial futures were up 26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,420, while S&P 500 futures were up 2.6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 918.10.
U.S. markets fell Tuesday amid disappointment in a decline in consumer confidence following big jumps in April and May, as measured by a private group called the Conference Board. Consumer spending from consumers accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The Dow fell 82.38, or 1 percent, to 8,447.00, while the S&P 500 index fell 7.91, or 0.9 percent, to 919.32, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 9.02, or 0.5 percent, to 1,835.04.
After Thursday's U.S. jobs number, investors will be paying close attention in coming weeks will be second-quarter earnings reports from U.S. companies and their forecasts for the rest of the year.
Oil above $70 a barrel in Asia as a drop in U.S. crude inventories suggested demand may be picking up. Benchmark crude for August delivery rose 59 cents to $70.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 96.80 yen from 96.34, while the euro was little changed at $1.4034.
Associated Press Writer Tomoko A. Hosaka in Tokyo contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-29 18:31 GMT+08:00