Economic News Produces Mixed Results in Asia

Major indexes in Asia closed mixed on Thursday as investors digested a barrage of economic data releases out of China.

The Nikkei 225 index picked up 85.47 points, or 0.4%, to 21,448.52. The benchmark index has closed higher for 13 consecutive sessions now.

The Hang Seng Index tumbled 552.67 points, or 1.9%, to 28,159.09

In Hong Kong, telecommunications equipment maker ZTE closed down 11.4% after reporting preliminary results. Property and casino stocks also recorded losses on the day.

In Korea, automakers climbed, but those gains were offset by falls in blue-chip tech names: Samsung Electronics closed down 3.3%, SK Hynix declined 2.4%and Hyundai Motor rose 0.7%

In Australia, losses in major miners were offset by gains in banks and information technology stocks. The heavily-weighted financials sub-index advanced 0.5%

The Australian dollar traded a touch higher on the day at $0.7856 U.S. Still, the currency remained below a session high of $0.7875 seen just after the release of stronger-than-expected employment data early in the day. Employment rose by 19,800 compared to a projected increase of 15,000

In other economic news, growth in Japan's exports and imports came in just short of forecasts. Government data showed the country's exports increased 14.1% in September compared to a year ago, short of the 14.9% forecast. Japan's imports rose 12% in the same period, below the 15% median forecast.

The U.S. dollar was a bit softer against the yen on the day at 112.53, although it traded at levels above the 113 handle before the data release.

Also in currencies, the New Zealand dollar sank following an announcement that Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would become prime minister after securing support from a nationalist party. The kiwi dollar traded at $0.7034 U.S., off levels around the $0.715 handle in the last session.

In central bank-related news, the Bank of Korea kept rates on hold, as was widely expected.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 faded 12.91 points, or 0.3%, to 3,931.25

Third-quarter Gross Domestic Product showed the Chinese economy grew 6.8% compared to a year ago, meeting analyst expectations. That was a touch softer than the 6.9% growth seen in the second quarter of the year.

Other data releases were mixed. China's industrial production increased 6.6% in September compared to one year ago, beating the 6.2% forecast. September retail sales also topped expectations, increasing by 10.3% compared to the previous year, above the 10.2% forecast.

Fixed asset investment for the month, however, came up short.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index shed 9.85 points, or 0.4%, to 2,473.06

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index gained 40.01 points, or 0.4%, to 10,760.29

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index returned from holiday to improve 5.88 points, or 0.2%, to 3,334.91

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 took on 9.06 points, or 0.1%, to 8,124.07

In Australia, the ASX 200 edged up 5.65 points, or 0.1%, to 5,896.13