Apr 23, 2015 12:17 AM

Asian markets mostly higher despite weak China, Japan data

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) Asian shares rose Thursday despite fresh data showing economic weakness in China and Japan, as investors pinned their hopes on further stimulus measures.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 remained above the 20,000 mark it broached for the first time in 15 years the day before, gaining 0.3 percent to 20,202.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 28,040.37 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8 percent to 2,160.90. However, Australia's S&P ASX/200 dipped 0.1 percent to 5,831.60. Markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

CHINA MANUFACTURING: HSBC said Thursday that a preliminary version of its index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers fell to 49.2 in April, its lowest point in a year, from 49.6 in March. The fresh sign that growth is faltering in the world's second biggest economy will add to pressure on policymakers in Beijing to act to stave off a sharper slowdown.

JAPAN DATA: A survey in Japan showed a third straight monthly fall in manufacturing, from 50.3 in March to 49.7 in April, suggesting industries are still not in full recovery mode after the recession brought on by a sales tax hike on April 1, 2014.

THE QUOTE: The Nikkei's 33 percent rise over the past year reflects confidence in the joint efforts by the government and central bank to spark growth through monetary easing, said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG. "What looks like taking the Nikkei higher still is signs the (Bank of Japan) is considering even more stimulus," he said.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 rose 10.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,107.96 on Wednesday, just 10 points shy of its March 2 record high. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 88.68 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,038.27. The Nasdaq composite picked up 21.07 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,035.17.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 7 cents to $56.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 45 cents to $56.16 a barrel in New York. Brent crude fell 5 cents to $62.68 barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 119.92 yen from 119.98 yen late Wednesday. The euro also edged lower, to $1.0705 from $1.0725.


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