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 NIK, +0.28% edged up 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.12% rose 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.09% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.15% declined slightly. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +1.05% gained 0.9% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.14% , Singapore STI, +0.63% and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.20% advanced. Stocks dipped in Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.60% . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.50% retreated 0.6%.
Among individual stocks, Sony 6758, +3.96% and SoftBank 9984, +3.02% gained in Tokyo trading, while Honda 7267, -2.28% slumped. In Hong Kong, Apple component makers Sunny Optical 2382, +7.87% and AAC 2018, +3.85% surged after Apple AAPL, -0.01% reported earnings that beat estimates, and forecast a better-than-expected holiday quarter. Samsung 005930, +1.98% rose in South Korea despite reporting a 52% drop in net profit, attributed largely to the slumping chip market. In Australia, Beach Energy BPT, -1.49% and Wespac Banking WBC, -1.89% fell.