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Asian Shares Mixed After China Data

stockmarkets aug16 19oct20 lt

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as lingering hopes for a new U.S. stimulus package were offset by data showing that China's economy expanded at a slower rate than expected in July-September.

Chinese shares fell notably as marked improvement in consumer spending and industrial output doused the chances for major stimulus measures.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 23.69 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,312.67, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent to 24,542.26.

China's GDP grew 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said, missing forecasts for a gain of 5.2 percent but still up from 3.2 percent in the three months prior.

On a quarterly basis, GDP rose 2.7 percent - again shy of expectations for 3.2 percent and down sharply from the 11.5 percent gain in the previous three months.

Industrial production jumped 6.9 percent from a year earlier in September, beating forecasts for a gain of 5.8 percent and up from 5.6 percent in August.

Retail sales climbed an annual 3.3 percent, exceeding expectations for a rise of 1.8 percent following the 0.5 percent gain in the previous month.

Fixed asset investment was up an annual 0.8 percent to date in September, matching forecasts following the 0.3 percent fall a month earlier. The jobless rate came in at 5.4 percent in September, down from 5.6 percent in August.

Japanese shares posted strong gains as the dollar was firmer in the lower 105-yen range and data showed the country posted a merchandise trade surplus in September that increased from the previous month.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 260.50 points, or 1.1 percent, to 23,671.13, while the broader Topix index closed 1.3 percent higher at 1,637.98. Sony advanced 2.2 percent on reports the electronics giant will supply its micro displays to U.S. titan Apple.

Australian markets hit a fresh seven-month high amid loosening Covid-19 restrictions in Victoria. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 ended up 52.60 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,229.40, climbing for the ninth time in eleven sessions and marking a new high after March's market crash. The broader All Ordinaries index rose 50.60 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,435.60.

Tech stocks posted broad-based gains, with WiseTech surging 4.4 percent and Computershare adding 2.8 percent.

In the healthcare sector, heavyweight CSL gained 1.7 percent, Cochlear added 2.2 percent, ResMed rose 1.5 percent and Sonic Healthcare advanced 1 percent.

Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB rose about 1 percent while mining heavyweight BHP rose 0.7 percent and smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group climbed 1.1 percent.

Crown Resorts slumped 8.2 percent on news that Australia's financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC will investigate possible money laundering and other breaches at the gaming and hotel group's operations in Melbourne.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains to snap a four-session losing streak amid signs that China's economic recovery from the pandemic slump is broadening out. The benchmark Kospi inched up 5.21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,346.74.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.8 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 1.6 percent and steelmaker POSCO rallied 3.2 percent. Chemical maker LG Chem lost 3.9 percent and automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.3 percent.

New Zealand shares ended a tad lower after the Labour Party secured a historic majority in Saturday's election, broadly in line with public opinion polls. The benchmark NZX-50 index dropped 47.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,385.25.

The electricity sector paced the declines after seeing strong gains since late September. Meridian Energy tumbled 3.5 percent and Contact Energy gave up 2.3 percent.

The services sector in New Zealand moved into expansion territory in September, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed with a Performance of Services Index score of 50.3, up from the upwardly revised 47.2 (originally 46.9).

U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending mixed on Friday as upbeat retail sales and consumer sentiment data offset concerns over a surge in new coronavirus infections in Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 inched up marginally while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.4 percent.

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