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Asian Stocks Broadly Lower as Chinese Data Limit Losses

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks closed broadly lower on Tuesday after oil prices fell over 1 percent overnight and Brexit talks did not yield a breakthrough on the withdrawal issues. Encouraging services sector data from China helped to limit regional losses to some extent.

Chinese shares ended lower even as survey results from IHS Markit revealed the country’s private sector growth momentum improved marginally in November.

The Caixin composite output index rose to 51.6 from October’s 16-month low of 51.0, suggesting the economy has maintained stability and there was no imminent risk of a significant decline in its growth rate.

The pace of manufacturing growth picked up from October’s four-month low, while services activity grew the most in three months. China’s official nonmanufacturing PMI also rose to 54.8 in November from 54.3 in October.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 6.58 points or 0.2 percent to 3,303.04, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 295.48 points or 1 percent to 28,842.80.

Japanese shares fell as tech stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure. The Nikkei 225 Index shed 84.78 points or 0.4 percent to finish at 22,622.38. Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Sumco Corp tumbled 2-4 percent.

Meanwhile, Nidec rose 1.2 percent on news that it would set up a joint venture with French carmaker PSA to produce motors for electric vehicles.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Nikkei showed that the services sector in Japan continued to expand in November, albeit at a slower pace, with a PMI score of 51.2, down from the 26-month high of 53.4 in October.

Australian shares closed lower, dragged down by financials after the Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate on hold for the 16th month in a row, citing low wage growth and subdued inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 13.77 points or 0.2 percent to 5,971.82, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.2 percent lower at 6,057.30.

Banks ANZ and Westpac fell around 1 percent each and mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto lost 1-2 percent.

On the other hand, South32 rallied 3.7 percent after the company projected lower output and higher unit costs at its Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operations in NSW for 2017-18.

In economic news, activity levels across Australia’s services sector improved marginally in November and the country’s current account deficit narrowed in the third quarter, while retail sales rebounded in October after months of lukewarm demand, separate reports showed.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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