Asia stocks mixed on patchy US eco­nomic data


Asian stocks were mixed in early trad­ing Thurs­day, as gains on Wall Steet drove trad­ing in Tokyo but patchy US eco­nomic data fed wider un­cer­tainty in the re­gion.

The In­sti­tute for Sup­ply Man­age­ment said Wed­nes­day the US ser­vice sec­tor ex­panded 4.3 per­cent in July to a record high, but pay­roll firm ADP es­ti­mated the US pri­vate sec­tor added 185,000 jobs in July, be­low an­a­lysts es­ti­mate for 220,000 ad­di­tional jobs.

In early trad­ing, Tokyo rose 0.66 per­cent, Syd­ney fell 0.69 per­cent on a ma­jor bank s share sale and un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures, and Seoul lost 0.29 per­cent.

Shang­hai fell 0.89 per­cent, fol­low­ing a sharp drop in open­ing trade, while Hong Kong was down 0.63 per­cent.

The US data strength­ened the case for an ear­lier in­ter­est rate hike from the Fed, an­a­lysts said, weak­en­ing the yen and pro­vid­ing a boost for Ja­panese stocks. A weak yen is pos­i­tive for Ja­panese ex­ports but pushes up im­port costs.

"The weaker cur­rency will be a tail­wind for Ja­panese stocks. We ll still see a fo­cus on in­di­vid­ual earn­ings re­sults," Yu­taka Miura, a tech­ni­cal an­a­lyst at Mizuho Se­cu­ri­ties, told Bloomberg News.

The Bank of Ja­pan be­gins a two-day meet­ing Thurs­day, with all eyes on signs for when pol­i­cy­mak­ers may launch fur­ther eas­ing mea­sures.

Aus­tralian shares fell af­ter ANZ Bank an­nounced a share sale worth Aus$2.5 bil­lion ($1.83 bil­lion), while the Aussie dol- lar weak­ened af­ter un­em­ploy­ment un­ex­pect­edly jumped to 6.3 per­cent in July. Losses in Shang­hai for a sec­ond day com­pounded fears for the Chi­nese econ­omy.

The Shang­hai Com­pos­ite In­dex has tum­bled nearly 30 per­cent from its high­est point in June over fears for the health of the world s sec­ond-big­gest econ­omy.

The gov­ern­ment has re­stricted short selling, sus­pended ini­tial public of­fer­ings (IPOs) and al­lowed some com­pa­nies to halt trad­ing, while fund­ing a state-backed firm to buy stocks, but the mea­sures may be hit­ting in­vestor con­fi­dence, an­a­lysts be­lieve. "The mar­ket needs its own strength to re­cover," Zhang Haidong, chief strate­gist at Jinkuang In­vest­ment Man­age­ment in Shang­hai, told Bloomberg News.

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