Asian Markets Higher, Shanghai Bucks Trend – Nasdaq

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(RTTNews.com) – Asian stock markets are higher on Monday as data showing weaker-than-expected U.S. economic growth in the second quarter diminished expectations of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. In addition, commodity prices rose on a weaker U.S. dollar and lifted resources stocks.

However, the Shanghai market is lower as data showed a slowdown in manufacturing activity in China. The manufacturing sector in China slid barely into contraction in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.9.

That was shy of expectations for 50.0, which would have been unchanged from the June reading. It also fell beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 22.10 points or 0.40 percent to 5,584.50, off a high of 5,587.00. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 22.00 points or 0.39 percent to 5,666.00.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton is advancing 0.7 percent, Rio Tinto is adding more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 1.3 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is higher by 3 percent and Evolution Mining is rising more than 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.7 percent, Santos is higher by 1.6 percent and Oil Search is adding 1.3 percent.

Banks are also mostly higher. Westpac is advancing 0.2 percent, National Australia Bank is rising 0.6 percent and Commonwealth Bank is up 0.3 percent, while ANZ Bank is down 0.2 percent.

Fairfax Media said it will incur A$989 million of impairments when it reports full-year earnings results later in August. The company’s shares are declining almost 2 percent.

Dominic Stevens
has been named the new managing director and chief executive of the Australian Securities Exchange. He succeeds Elmer Funke Kupper
, who resigned in March. Shares of the stock exchange operator are adding 0.4 percent.

Tabcorp will acquire gaming technology group Intecq for A$115 million in a deal that will bolster its gaming services division. Shares of both Tabcorp and Intecq are in trading halt.

On the economic front, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in July, and at an accelerated pace, with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 56.4. That’s up sharply from 51.8 in June, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar has surged against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7596, up sharply from US$0.7508 on Friday.

The Japanese market opened lower, as a stronger yen weighed on exporters’ shares. However, the market has pared initial losses and edged up into positive territory. Investors also digested mixed corporate earnings results.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 3.14 points or 0.02 percent to 16,572.41, off a low of 16,319.15 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly lower. Sony is gaining almost 2 percent after reporting a surprise profit for the June quarter, while Canon is down 0.6 percent, Toshiba is losing 0.6 percent and Panasonic is lower by almost 7 percent on weaker-than-expected earnings results.

Automaker Toyota is down more than 1 percent and Honda is lower by 0.5 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is gaining more than 3 percent and SoftBank is higher by more than 4 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 1.7 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is declining 0.2 percent and JX Holdings is down almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Tokuyama Corp. is rising more than 9 percent, Resona Holdings is gaining more than 6 percent and Nippon Sheet Glass is up more than 5 percent.

Meanwhile, NEC Corp. is losing almost 11 percent after reporting an operating loss for the June quarter, Sumitomo Chemical is down 10 percent and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding is lower by almost 8 percent.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in July, albeit at a slower pace, on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.3.

That’s up from 48.1 in June, although it remained beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 102 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is rising 2 percent and Hong Kong is advancing more than 1 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are also in positive territory. Bucking the trend, Shanghai is losing 1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Friday for the fourth consecutive session as traders digested a slew of catalysts, including the latest batch of earnings news, the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision and some U.S. economic data.

While the Dow slipped 24.11 points or 0.1 percent to 18,432.24, the Nasdaq inched up 7.15 points or 0.1 percent to 5,162.13 and the S&P 500 crept up 3.54 points or 0.2 percent to 2,173.60.

The major European markets ended higher on Friday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures steadied Friday, taking back a fraction of significant recent losses after slipping into bear market territory. September WTI oil settled at $41.60 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 46 cents, or 1.1 percent.

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