Aug 31, 2015 11:30 PM

Asian shares fall on bleak China manufacturing data

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) Asian shares fell Tuesday as gloomy manufacturing data from China and weak investment figures in Japan augured further uncertainty for investors after a brutal August.

KEEPING SCORE: China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.8 percent to 3,148.68 after dipping nearly 5 percent earlier in the session. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.4 percent to 18,440.28 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1 percent to 21,444.82. South Korea's Kospi slid 1.2 percent to 1,919.07. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.4 percent to 5,133.30 and shares in Southeast Asia were also lower.

CHINA MANUFACTURING: An official index of Chinese manufacturing fell to a three-year low last month in another sign of slower-than expected growth in the world's No. 2 economy. The manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers fell to 49.7 in August from 50.0 in July, indicating a contraction.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "While a measure of calm has returned to these markets recently and they have seen relief rallies, many of the underlying negative fundamentals are still in place," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for HIS, said in a report. "As a result, the downside risks for most commodity prices, exchange rates, and stock markets are likely to persist for some time, while growth in many parts of the world, especially in emerging markets, is likely to deteriorate further."

JAPAN DATA: Measures of industrial production and capital spending, reported Monday and Tuesday, have undershot analysts' estimates, suggesting the economy may not have recovered as strongly as expected this summer from a contraction in the April-June quarter. However, a purchasing managers' index for August showed improvement, with new order growth rising to a seven-month high.

GOODBYE AUGUST: August was a brutal month for investors. Worries over China's slowdown and the timing of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve pushed shares sharply lower before moves by the Chinese central bank helped to stabilize the markets, at least temporarily. The Standard & Poor's 500 still finished August down 6.3 percent, its worst showing since May 2012.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 114.98 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 16,528.03 on Monday. The S&P 500 lost 16.69 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,972.18 and the Nasdaq composite lost 51.82 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,776.51.

ENERGY: Oil prices and energy stocks rose after the U.S. Energy Department cut its estimate for the country's oil production. Benchmark U.S. crude surged $3.98, or nearly 9 percent, to $49.20 a barrel in New York. However, oil fell back in Asia, with U.S. crude down $1.45 to $47.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped $1.49 to $52.66 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 120.74 yen from 121.20 yen in the previous global trading session. The euro rose to $1.1267 from $1.1226.


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