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Asian stocks creep up with more US, Chinese economic signals on tap

Published 2023-11-27, 10:00 p/m
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Investing.com-- Asian stocks rose slightly on Tuesday as traders kept to the sidelines before a string of key economic readings from the U.S. and China due later this week, although most regional bourses were sitting on strong gains for November. 

Australia’s ASX 200 was among the better performers for the day, up 0.6% on strength in real estate and mining stocks. Rare earths miner Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX:LYC) rose over 1% as China said it will curb exports of the commodity from this week, limiting global supplies.

An unexpected drop in Australian retail sales also pushed up hopes over easing inflation, which could invite a less hawkish stance from the Reserve Bank. Governor Michele Bullock said that Australian inflation was largely tracking overseas trends, and that the bank needed to be more careful in raising rates to bring down price pressures.

South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.7% even as data showed consumer confidence deteriorated further in November. But sentiment remained well above 2023 lows, amid some recent improvement in the South Korean economy. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a positive open after a long weekend, while Philippine shares led gains across Southeast Asia with a 0.5% rise. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index traded 0.2% lower, as a rally to 33-year highs now paused in anticipation of more economic cues. Japanese industrial production and retail sales readings are on tap later this week.

Regional markets took a weak lead-in from Wall Street, as U.S. indexes closed a touch lower on Monday in anticipation of more economic cues this week. PCE prices- the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge- is due this Thursday, as are purchasing managers index readings for November. A revised reading on third-quarter GDP is also on tap this week. 

Markets were largely watching for any more signs of cooling U.S. economic growth, amid growing expectations that the Fed was done raising interest rates. This notion put most Asian bourses on track for a strong performance in November, although Chinese shares lagged their peers. 

Chinese shares lag, PMIs in sight 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes were flat on Tuesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3%. Losses were driven by weaker property stocks, as investors grew more impatient over more government support for the sector. 

PMI data for November is due this Thursday, and is expected to offer more cues on business activity in Asia’s biggest economy, after a largely disappointing October. Data on Monday also showed a persistent, albeit slowing decline in Chinese industrial profits.

Concerns over a Chinese economic slowdown, coupled with impatience over more stimulus from Beijing, saw Chinese stock indexes largely lag their Asian peers through November. The CSI 300 was trading down 1.6% for the month- its fourth straight month in red, while the SSEC was marginally higher. 

In contrast, the Nikkei and the KOSPI were up between 8% and 11% so far this month. The ASX 200 added nearly 4% in November, as did the Nifty. 

 

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