Asian Shares Mixed After Solid Chinese Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as investors weighed worries over an economic slowdown against improved Chinese data.

The dollar edged lower after central bank chiefs signaled their resolve to bring down inflation despite threats to economic growth.

Gold traded flat, while oil extended losses in Asian trading after declining about 2 percent on Wednesday on worries that an economic slowdown or recession would lead to lower oil demand.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.1 percent to 3,398.62 after China’s official gauges of factory and services activity returned to expansion in June following three months of contraction. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended 0.6 percent lower at 21,859.79, giving up early gains.

Japanese shares fell sharply and the yen lingered near a 24-year low after data showed Japanese industrial output fell the most in two years, stoking fears of an economic slowdown.

The Nikki 225 Index tumbled 1.5 percent to 26,393.04, while the broader Topix closed 1.2 percent lower at 1,870.82. Energy stocks led losses, with Inpex Corp. and Japan Petroleum falling around 4 percent each.

Tech stocks such as Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings lost 4-5 percent. Toyota Motor declined 1.3 percent after the world’s largest car manufacturer missed its May production target.

Seoul stocks lost ground amid recession woes. The Kospi plummeted 1.9 percent to settle at 2,332.64. Samsung Electronics gave up 1.7 percent and SK Hynix shed 3.2 percent as the outlook for chip sales ebbed. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.9 percent.

Australian markets tumbled on fears of rapid monetary policy tightening by major central banks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index plunged 2 percent to 6,568.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 1.9 percent lower at 6,746.50.

Weak iron ore prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group losing 3-5 percent. The big four banks fell between 2.2 percent 2.8 percent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ended 0.8 percent lower at 10,868.70, posting its worst quarter since March 2020.

U.S. stocks fluctuated before closing mixed overnight and bond yields tumbled as Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated his hawkish stance on fighting inflation and cautioned there’s no guarantee the Fed can engineer a “soft landing.”

Investors also digested data showing that U.S. GDP shrank at an annual pace of 1.6 percent in the first quarter, slightly more than earlier estimates.

The Dow edged up 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 finished marginally lower.

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