Asian markets mixed, China PMI slightly higher than expected

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday and the British pound fell on new poll results that showed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party could potentially lose its majority in parliament.

Ahead of an election next week, the Conservatives could lose 20 of the seats it currently holds while the Labour Party could gain 30 additional seats, according to the poll by YouGov. This would result in a loss of the Tories’ overall majority at parliament, The Times newspaper reported.

The British pound slipped to as low as $1.2788, close to a one-month low reached last Friday, following the news compared to a high of $1.2867 in the overnight session. The pound recovered slightly to trade at $1.2819 at 12:42 p.m. HK/SIN.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 edged down by 0.13 percent while the Kospi reversed earlier losses to trade 0.15 percent higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 was was higher by 0.23 percent. Markets re-opened in China after a long weekend to trade mixed. The Hang Seng Index declined 0.11 percent, while the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Composite rose 0.07 percent and 0.343 percent respectively.

This was just after the release of official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May, which came in at 51.2 compared to the 51.0 estimated.

The Australian dollar, which tends to be sensitive to resource demand from China, trended higher after the news to trade around $0.7474. The Aussie later stabilized to trade at $0.7449 against the dollar at 11:55 a.m. HK/SIN.

“It’s a tiny … beat, but to be honest, not too much to be read into these numbers. It’s business as usual. I think at the moment, the market is perhaps taking a slightly … less serious view of the Chinese output numbers,” Bank of Singapore CIO Johan Jooste told CNBC.

Political developments at the end of the year and China’s attempt to contain leverage are bigger market drivers than PMIs at the moment, Jooste added.

Meanwhile, the overnight yuan borrowing rate in Hong Kong rose to its highest level in five months, Reuters said.

Japan industrial production for April rose four percent from last month, compared to the 4.3 percent estimated by a Reuters poll. The yen was slightly stronger, with the greenback fetching as little as 110.78 yen after the news compared to around 110.84 earlier. The yen later gave up some of its gains, with dollar/yen trading at 111.06 at 11:55 a.m. HK/SIN.

South Korea’s LG Display reversed losses in early trade to gain 0.78 percent. Shares of the LG Display had jumped in the last session on news the company was “reviewing” an increase in its investments in flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen production, the Financial Times reported.

Shares of Mitsubishi Motor rose 1.26 percent. In a note, Citi said it was upgrading its call on Mitsubishi Motor shares to “Neutral,” following Nissan outlining its medium-term plans.

Citi analysts Arifumi Yoshida, Yingqiu Zhang and Manabu Hagiwara said there was an increased possibility of a “specific roadmap for long-term synergies with Mitsubishi Motor being delineated.”

The dollar index traded at 97.411 at 11:57 a.m. HK/SIN.

“The dollar index remains under pressure despite drifting to a seven-night high overnight. The shallow retracement can be partly explained by lower liquidity due to (the) three-day weekend in the U.S. and weakness in the euro, neither of which are compelling reasons to buy the dollar,” ThinkMarkets Senior Market Analyst Matt Simpson said in a Wednesday morning note.

Brent crude futures were down 0.35 percent at $51.66 a barrel while U.S. crude shed 0.58 percent to trade at $49.37. Prices of Brent crude had fallen almost 1 percent in the overnight session on worries about an oversupply in the oil markets.

After the long weekend, Wall Street closed lower on the release of key economic data stateside.

Source: CNBC

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