SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade, with investors watching for market reaction to the release of a private survey on Chinese factory activity for May.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite sitting below the flatline while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.419%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.74%.
China’s Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May came in at 48.1 on Wednesday, an improvement over April’s reading of 46 but still remaining below the 50-level mark that separates expansion from contraction.
We’re in a relatively calm period, there has been a risk-on environment that’s been triggered by some degree of opening up in China.
head of Asia-Pacific equity research, BNP Paribas
China’s official manufacturing PMI for May, released Tuesday, came in at 49.6 — an improvement over April’s reading of 47.4. The May reading was above the 48.6 level expected from a Reuters poll.
PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 0.61% while the Topix index advanced 1.19%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.11%. Australia’s gross domestic product grew 0.8% quarter-on-quarterly in seasonally adjusted chain volume terms during the first quarter, data from the country’s Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday. That was above expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.5% gain.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.41% lower.
“We’re in a relatively calm period, there has been a risk-on environment that’s been triggered by some degree of opening up in China,” Manishi Raychaudhuri, head of Asia-Pacific equity research at BNP Paribas, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday. “There has also been commentary, a narrative that the risk perception is way too high among institutional investors.”
“That said, we must also keep in mind that we’re now about to enter a period of quite severe monetary policy tightening,” he added. “We have to brace for the impact at least, you know, in the next one quarter or so.”
Markets in South Korea are closed on Wednesday for a holiday.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 0.63% to 4,132.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 222.84 points, or 0.67%, to 32,990.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.41% to 12,081.39.