Asian Stocks Mixed, but Buoyed by Positive Data By

© Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday morning, with positive U.S. manufacturing activity data fueling hopes of a global economic recovery from COVID-19.

The U.S. said on Tuesday that the rose to 56 in August, with a rise in new orders helping the index reach its highest level in more than a year. China also reported positive factory data on Tuesday, with the rising to 53.1, its biggest rate of expansion since January 2011.

Japan’s edged up 0.19% by 11:15 PM ET (4:15 AM GMT), with Yoshihide Suga widely expected to formally announce his candidacy to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) later in the day. The LDP will reportedly vote for a leader on September 14, the first concrete step to replacing incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

South Korea’s inched up 0.05%, with August’s consumer price index rising 0.7% year-on-year, according to data released earlier in the day.

Finance Minister Nam-ki Hong said on Tuesday that a “targeted” second round of cash handouts to counter the economic impact of tighter social distancing measures due to the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak. The government’s last cash handouts were distributed in May.

Down Under, the jumped 1.61%. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released earlier in the day confirmed that the country is in a recession, with contracting by a record 7% quarter-on-quarter during the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Victoria state is looking to ease lockdown restrictions as its second wave of infections seems to be coming under control. The state recorded 90 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a third straight day of double-digit numbers.

Hong Kong’s was down 0.61%. China’s fell 0.70% and the was down 0.24%.

Meanwhile, investors are keeping an eye on the U.S. Congress’ ongoing negotiations over the latest stimulus measures. But a phone call between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday concluded that Democrats and Republicans continue to have “serious differences” over the bill, dampening hopes of a quick resolution.

“Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing,” Pelosi said in a statement.

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