By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday, following disappointing economic data from China and another interest-rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which suggested no more would come for a while.
Speaking after the Fed’s two-day meeting, Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday it would take a “material change” to justify another rate cut, indicating that the central bank will wait and see how the economy reacts to the third rate cut this year. Still, many analysts still expect further cuts in 2020 if the U.S. economy slows down as expected.
Economic data from China on Thursday showed weaker-than-expected growth in both factory activity and nonmanufacturing activity. China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index dropped to 49.3 in October from 49.8 the month before, marking an eight-month low and the sixth straight month of contraction. Meanwhile, the official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index dropped to 52.8 in October from 53.7 in September, marking its lowest point since February 2016.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.73% edged up 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.10% rose 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.15% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.09% declined slightly. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.24% gained 0.9% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.56% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -2.17% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -1.06% advanced. Stocks dipped in Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.06% . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +2.16% retreated 0.6%.
Among individual stocks, Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -0.34% and SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 0.00% gained in Tokyo trading, while Honda /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +4.24% slumped. In Hong Kong, Apple component makers Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +1.05% and AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +3.64% surged after Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.64% reported earnings that beat estimates, and forecast a better-than-expected holiday quarter. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.21% rose in South Korea despite reporting a 52% drop in net profit, attributed largely to the slumping chip market. In Australia, Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +2.53% and Wespac Banking /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +2.13% fell.