By RTT News, September 23, 2013, 05:01:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday on worries the Federal Reserve may reduce bond purchases at its October meeting following hawkish comments made by two Fed officials. Encouraging Chinese manufacturing data gave sentiment a boost, helping to limit the downside to some extent. Meanwhile, preliminary data out of the euro area showed that manufacturing activity in the euro zone expanded at a slower rate than expected in September, while the service sector activity improved at the fastest pace in 27 months.
China's Shanghai Composite rallied 1.3 percent on optimism the domestic economy is gaining traction. An indicator of China's factory sector performance improved modestly in September, preliminary results of a survey by Markit Economics and HSBC revealed. The headline purchasing managers' index rose to a six-month high of 51.2 from 50.1 in August. New orders increased at a faster pace during the month on the back of a rebound in export orders, while the pace of decline in employment eased since August.
The Japanese market was closed for a holiday for the Autumnal Equinox holiday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.6 percent as trading resumed after a delay due to a storm.
Australian shares drifted lower, bud ended off their day's lows boosted by fresh signs of strength in China's manufacturing sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped half a percent to 5,252. Global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto fell 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Gold miner Newcrest plunged 8.2 percent as gold prices fluctuated after sliding sharply in the previous session.
Among the major banks, NAB slipped marginally and Commonwealth slid 0.3 percent, but Westpac rose 0.2 percent and ANZ advanced 0.3 percent. Treasury Wine Estates tumbled 6.3 percent after its chief executive David Dearie quit the company with immediate effect.
South Korea's Kospi average closed 0.2 percent higher, buoyed by encouraging manufacturing data out of China. Samsung SDI shares soared 6.8 percent after electric car maker Tesla Motors joined the fray to develop self-driving cars. Market heavyweights Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics fell 0.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, on profit taking as trading resumed following a three-day Chuseok traditional holiday weekend.
New Zealand shares lost ground as investors waited for the sale of a minority stake in Meridian Energy, which is expected to fetch between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion. The benchmark NZX-50 dropped 0.6 percent to 4,701, with 39 of its components retreating. Fonterra Shareholders' Fund Units lost 1.2 percent ahead of its annual results on Wednesday, utility Contact Energy shed 1.3 percent and online auction site Trade Me dropped 1.5 percent.
Retailers ended mostly lower, with Kathmandu Holdings, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, Warehouse Group and Michael Hill falling 1-3 percent. Rural services firm PGG Wrightson declined 2.6 percent after announcing that Anderson will retire as chairman at the annual meeting next month.
Elsewhere, India's Sensex was tumbling 2 percent, with banks bearing the brunt of the selling after new RBI chief Raghuram Rajan signaled he would focus on fighting inflation than growth.
Indonesia's Jakarta Composite was losing a percent, Malaysia's KLSE Composite was down 0.3 percent and Singapore's Straits Times was down 0.7 percent, while the Taiwan Weighted average gained a percent.
Malaysia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate moved up to 3 percent in July from 2.7 percent in June, data released by the Department of Statistics showed.
Unemployment rate in Taiwan increased marginally in August, data from the Director-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics showed. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 4.19 percent from 4.18 percent in July.
On Wall Street, stocks dropped on Friday, as investors fretted over comments by Federal Reserve officials and the Washington's budget fiasco amid the standoff over Obamacare that could result in a government shutdown. The Dow fell 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq eased 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 slid 0.7 percent.
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