Asia Mixed as China Performs Better than Expected

Most Asian stock markets closed higher on Wednesday, following the release of better-than-expected economic numbers from China.

The Nikkei 225 handed back 56.31 points, or 0.2%, 22,277.97, with shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing rising 0.9% and Fanuc up 0.4%.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.97 against the U.S. dollar as it continued to trade in a range around the 112.0 handle.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dipped 5.19 points to 30,124.68

Australian markets faltered, as DuluxGroup, Australia’s largest paint maker, backed a A$3.81-billion (approx. $2.73-billion U.S.) takeover proposal from Japan-based Nippon Paint, Reuters reported. Shares of Dulux soared 27.1% following that announcement, while Nippon Paint dropped 3.6%.

Nippon’s offer for Dulux comes as the Australian group’s revenue growth slows and building materials suppliers face strong headwinds as an east coast homebuilding boom winds down and home values drop sharply

CHINA

The CSI 300 in China nicked up 1.45 points to 4,087.24

China said Wednesday its economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019, beating analysts’ expectations. A poll predicted the country’s gross domestic product would grow 6.3% year-on-year in the first three months of the year. China grew by 6.4% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year, and 6.8% in the first quarter of 2018.

China also released housing price data on Tuesday, reporting that average new home prices rose faster in March compared to a month earlier, according to Reuters’ calculation of data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7199 U.S. following an earlier low of $0.7151. China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner, according to the latest data from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 16.6 points, or 0.5%, to 3,348.64

Korea’s Kospi Index slumped 2.74 points, or 0.1%, to 2,245.89

The Taiex Index in Taiwan added 69.41points, or 0.6%, to 10,997.26

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 strengthened 73.86 points, or 0.8%, to 9,982.24

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 21.07 points, or 0.3%, to 6,256.38