Asian markets trade mixed following Wall Street losses; China data falls short

Shares in Asia were were mixed in Monday trade after Wall Street closed lower on news that planned stateside tax cuts could be gradually implemented. Investors in the region also digested the release of China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index and the Bank of Japan’s rates decision.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.18 percent. Financial stocks recorded losses of more than 1 percent: Mitsubishi UFJ was down 2.38 percent and Nomura Holdings tumbled 2.58 percent. Tech shares were mixed.

The Bank of Japan on Tuesday kept its monetary policy steady after a two-day meeting. The central bank said it would maintain the short term interest rate at minus 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, industrial production in September declined 1.1 percent from a month ago, government data showed. That compared to a median 1.5 percent fall estimated by markets, Reuters said.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi rose 0.64 percent. Automakers rallied and some retailers saw strong gains, but several blue-chip tech names declined: Hyundai Motor was up 3.21 percent, Lotte Shopping rose 3.1 percent and LG Electronics declined 3.27 percent.

Of note, Samsung reported its third-quarter profit almost tripled from a year ago to 14.5 trillion won ($12.91 billion), boosted by memory chip income, according to Reuters. Samsung shares reversed early losses to surge 1.67 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.05 percent, with gains in the energy and consumer staples sub-indexes offset by losses in the heavily-weighted financials sub-index.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.08 percent, with banks and telcos under pressure during the session.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite extended losses made in the last session, edging down 0.25 percent. The Shenzhen Composite was 0.032 percent higher.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for October came in at 51.6 — missing the 52.0 figure forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. The official services PMI, meanwhile, came in at 54.3, below the 55.4 seen last month.

While the dips in PMIs could indicate “a moderation” in the fourth-quarter from previous periods, they were “unlikely to change the broad picture of steady growth in 2017,” ANZ Senior China Economist Betty Rui Wang said in a note.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday following the tax cut reports, with the Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.45 points to end at 23,348.74.

Tax cuts were in the spotlight overnight following a Bloomberg report that planned reductions in the corporate tax rate would be gradually implemented. That plan would lower the corporate tax rate by three percentage points each year from the existing 35 percent beginning in 2018.

In response to the latest reports, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump’s position on corporate taxes had not changed.

Other central banks were also in focus, with the Federal Open Market Committee will begin its own two-day meeting on Tuesday and is due to make its interest rates decision on Wednesday U.S. time.

Ahead, Trump is expected to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve on Thursday. Most in the markets expect Trump to choose Fed Governor Jerome “Jay” Powell for the role. Other candidates that are in the running include Stanford economist John Taylor, current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh.

Also of note was the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as part of the ongoing Russian interference probe.

“This story which has popped up again … could unsettle markets in the run-up to Trump’s big [Fed] announcement, tax policy progress and Asia tour,” Rob Carnell, Asia head of research at ING, cautioned in a note.

Nintendo on Monday announced it was nearly doubling its full-year profit forecast to 120 billion yen ($1.06 billion) from 65 billion yen. The consumer electronics company also reported quarterly profit of 23.7 billion yen, topping the 19 billion yen expected, Reuters said. Nintendo stock surged 3.41 percent to outperform other Japanese tech shares.

Shares of Softbank tumbled 5.19 percent following news that talks to combine T-Mobile and Sprint had run into turbulence. Softbank, which owns Sprint, intends to walk away from the talks, Nikkei reported on Monday.

Elsewhere, Glencore announced in a filing that it would be withdrawing the listing of its shares on the Hong Kong Exchange. The withdrawal is expected to come into effect on Jan. 31, 2018, the company said. Shares of the company traded in Hong Kong were up 0.67 percent.

Following the tax cut news, the dollar index recouped some overnight losses to stand at 94.579. Still, that was below levels around the 94.7 handle seen during Asian trade on Monday. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback was stable at 113.15.

The Australian dollar, which had edged down ahead of the release of Chinese data, was little changed on the day. The Aussie dollar traded at $0.7676 at 12:12 p.m. HK/SIN after climbing as high as $0.7698 in the session.

Oil prices pared some gains, but Brent oil continued to hold above the $60 mark. Brent crude lost 0.23 percent to traded at $60.76 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude, meanwhile, slid 0.18 percent to $54.05 a barrel — near its highest close since February. Source: CNBC

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