Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, as investors digested a pair of upbeat reports on the Chinese manufacturing sector.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.55%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index ended 0.76% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed down 0.04.
Midway through the session, a report showed that China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index inched up to 50.8 in November, up from a preliminary reading 50.4 and above expectations for a reading of 50.5.
The data was published one day after a government report showed that China’s manufacturing purchasing managers'' index held steady at an 18-month high of 51.4 in November, compared to forecasts for a decline to 51.1.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose to the highest level since April 2011 following the release of the stronger-than-expected China PMI report.
Brokerage firms were higher after China’s government unveiled reforms in the initial public offering market. Haitong Securities and CITIC Securities rallied 5.8% and 7.2% respectively.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Nikkei ended little changed near last week’s six-month high as the yen held steady against the U.S. amid ongoing expectations that the Bank of Japan will have to step up its monetary stimulus program.
USD/JPY rose to 102.60 on Friday, the strongest level since May 23. A weaker yen increases the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, boosting the outlook for export earnings.
Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index fell to the lowest level since October 16 ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy-setting meeting on Tuesday.
The big four banks were mostly lower, with National Australia Bank shares dropping 0.8%, while Commonwealth Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group slumped 1.25% and 0.85%.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a steady open.
The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.1% at the open, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.1%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a flat open, while Germany''s DAX futures pointed to an increase of 0.1%.
The euro zone is to release revised data on its manufacturing PMI later in the day, while Spain and Italy are also to release individual reports.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., equity markets pointed to a modestly higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.2% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.1% advance, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.2%.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is to speak at an event in Washington. Later Monday, the Institute of Supply Management is to release its manufacturing PMI.
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