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Asian Stocks Finish Mixed on Chinese Data

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as weak Chinese data added to investor concerns over Italy’s controversial budget, rising U.S. interest rates and U.S.-Saudi tensions.

The euro lingered near a one-week low against the dollar after the European Commission said Italy’s 2019 budget draft is in serious breach of EU budget rules.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he presumes journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been killed and that the U.S. response to Saudi Arabia will likely be ?very severe.?

Regional markets recovered from a weak start to close mixed after Chinese regulators stepped in to bolster investor confidence.

Chinese shares bounced back from early weakness to close sharply higher after the central bank chief downplayed market fluctuations and the securities regulator said it would encourage funds to help resolve liquidity difficulties at listed companies.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 64.05 points or 2.6 percent to end at 2,550.46, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 106.85 points or 0.4 percent to 25,561.40.

Earlier in the day, data showed Chinese GDP climbed an annual 6.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018, shy of estimates for 6.6 percent and down from 6.7 percent in the previous quarter.

Industrial production climbed 5.8 percent year-on-year in September, below forecasts for 6.0 percent and down from 6.1 percent in August.

However, retail sales climbed an annual 9.2 percent and fixed asset investment gained 5.4 percent to beat forecasts.

Japanese shares fell to extend losses from the previous session, although stocks closed well off their lows as Chinese markets rose despite the weaker than expected GDP data.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell more than 400 points before recovering some lost ground to end the session down 126.08 points or 0.6 percent at 22,532.08. The broader Topix index ended 0.7 percent lower at 1,692.85.

Construction equipment makers continued to fall, with Komatsu losing 3.1 percent and Kubota Corp declining 1.1 percent. Index-heavyweight SoftBank Corp dropped 1.2 percent and Nintendo slumped 4 percent.

Exporters, Honda Motor, Toyota, Sony and Panasonic all fell around 1 percent after the yen strengthened overnight towards the one-month peak versus the dollar reached on Monday.

In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication said that consumer prices in Japan were up 1.2 percent year-on-year in September. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 1.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the August reading.

Australian closed marginally lower, with mining stocks pacing the decliners after the release of weak GDP data from China, Australia’s largest trading partner.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged down 2.90 points or 0.1 percent to 5,939.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,042.80.

Rio Tinto tumbled 1.7 percent and Fortescue Metals Group lost 2.3 percent as base metal prices dipped on worries about slowing Chinese growth and higher U.S. interest rates. Energy stocks ended mixed as oil prices remained on track for a second weekly drop.

Meanwhile, Saracen Mineral Holdings soared 5.3 percent as gold prices edged higher on safe-haven demand. Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac rose between 0.6 percent and 1 percent.

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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