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Data shows China factory activity contracting


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Thursday morning as investors reacted to the release of Chinese factory activity data for September.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.31% while the Topix index declined 0.4%. Japan is set for a new prime minister after Fumio Kishida won the governing party leadership election on Wednesday.

South Korea’s Kospi rose fractionally. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.07%.

The MSCI’s Asia-Pacific share index outside Japan was 0.05% lower.

The official September manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for September came in at 49.6, according to data released on Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a reading of 50.1, but this was lower than the actual number.

A PMI reading of 50 or less indicates contraction, while readings above this level indicate expansion. PMI readings can be interpreted as sequential. They indicate month-on-month growth or contraction.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI will be released at approximately 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

Investors will also monitor shares of developer China Evergrande, after Reuters reported that some bondholders did not receive a due coupon payment by the close of Asia business hours on Wednesday.

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Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 90.73 points higher to 34,390.72 while the S&P 500 gained 0.16% to 4,359.46. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.24%, to 14,512.44.

Investors continued to watch the 10-year Treasury yield as it fell below 1.5% on Monday. It has since maintained above 1.508%. Prices and yields are inversely related. Yields change in the opposite direction.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 94.302 following a recent climb from below 94.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.88 per dollar, having weakened from below 111.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7191 after falling from above $0.728 earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures hovering above the flatline, trading at $78.65 per barrel. U.S. crude futures The price of a barrel rose by 0.4% to $75.01