Asia Pacific stocks put in modest gains at the start of the week, buoyed by a raft of mostly better-than-expected macroeconomic data out of China and ahead of a virtual summit between the leaders of the US and China scheduled for Monday evening US time.
Commenting on the market backdrop, Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said: “The market recovery has well and truly stalled in Europe while Asia is still struggling to get much uplift and the US is failing to build on record highs.
“In many ways, I’m encouraged by the resilience we’re seeing in the markets which are again factoring in higher inflation and earlier rate hikes. But then I wonder what will be the catalyst for the rally to continue.
“Of course, Covid restrictions this winter could be relatively light touch as vaccinations keep hospitalisations and fatalities low which would be a big plus for companies and economies, and support equity markets. But that will only become clear over time.”
The Shanghai Stock Exchange’s benchmark index dipped 0.16% to 3,533.39, but the Nikkei-225 finished 0.46% higher at 29,776.80.
Dragging on Chinese stocks was data showing that house prices dropped at a 0.25% pace on the month in October, their second consecutive drop.
Shares of China Vanke slipped 1.8% and those of PolyDevelopments and Holdings by 2.6%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up by 0.25% to 25,390.91 alongside, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.98% to 1,029.03.
Boosting the Kospi index were electronics and biotech names, with Dow Jones Newswires pointing to continued net buying by foreign investors through the session on the back of optimism towards the semiconductor industry.
Memory-chip maker SK Hynix jumped 4.2% and Apple supplier, LG Innotek, leaped 6.2% higher.
Biotech outfit Celltrion jumped 9.1% after the European Commission gave its Covid-19 antibody treatment the green light.
Most other benchmark equity indices ended the day on a positive note as well.
Crude oil futures moved lower but natural gas futures were bouncing back on reports that Russia was keeping a tight grip on supplies to much of Europe.
Dollar/yen was roughly unchanged at 113.89.
Readings for Chinese industrial production and retail sales for October beat economists’ forecasts.
Pantheon Macroeconomics said Chinese industry appeared to have put the worst behind them, although retail sales were likely enjoying a “false dawn” and the property sector remained under pressure.
As an aside, Vietnam was set to start lifting restrictions on foreign tourists.
Japanese third quarter gross domestic product was reported down by 3.0% in seasonally-adjusted and annualised terms.
The figures were published ahead of the expected announcement on 19 November by Tokyo of a fiscal package, Pantheon Macroeconomics pointed out, adding that the outlook for new Covid-19 cases in the country was improving “so there is hope for a rebound [in household consumption] even before fiscal support kicks in”.