Data shows Chinese factory activity growth in December


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday, as data showed accelerating Chinese factory activity growth in December.

Chinese tech stocks listed in Hong Kong fell, with shares of Tencent dropping 0.84% while Meituan shed 1.7%. The Hang Seng Tech index slipped 1.04% to 5,581.90. Those losses came after China’s cyberspace regulator announced that, beginning Feb. 15, internet platforms with data for more than 1 million users will need to undergo a security review before listing overseas.

Meanwhile, shares of debt-laden China Evergrande Group briefly surged more than 6% after resumption of trading following a Monday halt before giving up some of those gains. The stock closed 1.26% higher, though it remains close to its all-time low level of 1.42 Hong Kong dollars per share (about $0.18) touched on Christmas Eve, according to Factset.

Evergrande announced Tuesday that it saw 443.02 billion yuan (about $67.67 billion) worth in contracted sales of properties in 2021 — a more than 30% plunge from 2020’s figure.

Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index closed fractionally higher at 23,289.84. Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.2% to 3,632.33 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.444% to 14,791.31.

Chinese factory activity growth accelerated in December, according to a private survey released Tuesday. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 50.9, rising from November’s reading of 49.9. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected the figure for December to rise to 50.

The 50-point mark in PMI readings separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for December, released last week, showed an acceleration in growth of Chinese factory activity that month. The official manufacturing PMI for December came in at 50.3 from November’s reading of 50.1.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan climbed 1.77% to close at 29,301.79, while the Topix index gained 1.9% to 2,030.22. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished the trading day 1.95% higher at 7,589.80. Shares in Japan and Australia started their trading year on Tuesday following a Monday holiday.

South Korea’s Kospi closed little changed at 2,989.24.

In Southeast Asia, trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange was cancelled on Tuesday due to “technical problems,” according to a notice from the PSE.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.49%.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.276. That compared against levels below 96 seen recently.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.74 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 114.9 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7207, lower than levels above $0.726 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were muted in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures little changed at $78.99 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were largely flat at $76.08 per barrel.

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