Asia Mostly Higher to Begin December

Stocks in major Asian markets saw gains on the first trading day of December as Chinese factory activity sprung a positive surprise in November.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 regained 235.59 points, or 1%, to kick December at 23,529.50, as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing gained 1.7%.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.62 against the U.S. dollar after weakening from levels below 108.9 last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index reclaimed 98.23 points, or 0.4%, to 26,444.72

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6775 after declining from levels above $0.678 in the previous trading week.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 7.39 points, or 0.2%, to 3,836.06

A private survey of Chinese factory activity in November came in stronger than expected on Monday, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for the month rising to 51.8. That was higher than expectations of a 51.4 reading by economists. The October PMI reading came in at 51.7.

The 50-point mark separates growth and contraction in PMI readings.

Data released over the weekend showed the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 50.2 in November, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That was beyond expectations of a November reading of 49.5 by analysts. The official PMI reading had come in at 49.3 in October.

Uncertainty continued to cloud the outlook for U.S.-China trade negotiations and protests in Hong Kong.

Axios reported Sunday, citing a source, that the anticipated deal is now “stalled because of Hong Kong legislation” and a “phase one” agreement between Washington and Beijing would only happen “year-end at the earliest.” The report also said Trump is expected to pause on planned tariffs in December.

Chinese state media said Sunday that Beijing wants a rollback of tariffs in the phase one trade deal that the two economic powerhouses are aiming to reach.

Meanwhile, civil unrest continued to rock Hong Kong as the city saw fresh protests over the weekend.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex reasserted itself 13.26 points, or 0.1%, to 11,502.83

In Korea, the Kospi recovered 3.96 points, or 0.2%, to 2,091.82

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index decreased 5.95 points, or 0.2%, to 3,187.97

In New Zealand, the NZX fell 14.6 points, or 0.1%, to 11,301.98

In Australia, the ASX 200 advanced 16.27 points, or 0.2%, to 6,862.27