Asian stocks suffered on Tuesday as more poor data out of China dented optimism over the country’s already scratchy recovery.
There were also doubts over Beijing’s latest promises of support for its struggling economy and whether they will be enough to turn around its fortunes.
China stocks fell after a survey showed services activity expanded at the slowest pace in eight months in August.
The Caixin/S&P Global services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 51.8 in August from 54.1 in July, as weak demand continued to dog the world’s second-largest economy and stimulus failed to meaningfully revive consumption.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.71%, or 22.69 points, to 3,154.37, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange lost 0.58%, or 11.54 points, to 1,970.08.
Beijing has released a slew of measures in recent months to revive slowing growth and boost market confidence, including easing some borrowing rules to aid homebuyers and reducing trading costs on the stock market.
The measures drove the stock market off a nine-month low, but some analysts forecast that the rally would not last.
Tech giants listed in Hong Kong declined 1.5% and the main Hang Seng Index dropped 2.06%, or 387.25 points, to 18,456.91.The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 2.09%.
Japan stocks were an outlier, closing at their highest levels in a month, as the Nikkei index rose afresh above the key 33,000 mark.
The Nikkei 225 share average ended 0.30% up at 33,036.76. The broader Topix blipped 0.17% higher to 2,377.85, after renewing a 33-year high by reaching 2,379.57. Both indexes logged seven-day winning streaks, the longest run since mid-May.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.30%, while the Australian dollar shed 0.68% to $0.6421 after the country’s central bank held rates at 4.10% and said recent data were consistent with inflation returning to the 2% to 3% target range in late 2025.
Indian stocks advanced with Mumbai’s signature Nifty 50 index up 0.24%, or 46.10 points, at 19,574.90.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.65% lower at 511.63, moving away from 515.37, the highest level since August 11 it touched on Monday.
Futures indicated that the dour mood was likely to spread to Europe, with the Eurostoxx 50 futures down 0.21%, German DAX futures down 0.20% and FTSE futures 0.29% lower.
US markets were closed on Monday for a holiday, leading to light trading volume. While the economic calendar in the region is bare, several Federal Reserve officials are due to speak during the week.
Data on Friday showed US job growth picked up in August, but the unemployment rate jumped to 3.8%, while wage gains moderated. The slight cracks in the labour market further bolstered expectations that the Fed is likely done hiking rates.
Markets are pricing in 93% chance of the Fed keeping rates unchanged later this month, CME FedWatch tool showed, and has priced in about a 60% chance of no more hikes this year.
In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the US currency against six rivals, rose 0.086%.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.22% to 146.81 per dollar, still at the levels that led to intervention from Japanese authorities last year.
In commodities, US crude rose 0.35% to $85.85 per barrel and Brent was at $88.86, down 0.16% on the day.
Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 0.30% at 33,036.76 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index < DOWN 2.06% at 18,456.91 (close)
Shanghai – Composite < DOWN 0.71% at 3,154.37 (close)
London – FTSE 100 < DOWN 0.34% at 7,427.67 (0935 BST)
New York – Dow > UP 0.33% at 34,837.71 (Friday close)
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