Asian stock markets advanced Tuesday as weak economic reports from around the world boosted hopes for stimulus measures from major central banks globally.
A slew of soft manufacturing reports Monday from the U.S., China and the Europe raised concerns of a further global slowdown and renewed hopes that major central banks would implement further measures to support the global economy.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that the U.S. factory activity contracted for the first time in three years as demand fell amid the euro zone crisis. ISM's manufacturing purchasing managers Index (PMI) declined to 49.7 percent in June from 53.5 percent in May, the lowest level since July 2009 and also fell short of Bloomberg's expectation for a decline to 52.0 percent. The reading above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 indicates contraction.
The U.S. stock ended higher Monday, despite the manufacturing data as investors are optimistic that the weak economic data, coupled with intensifying crisis in the euro zone, will force policy makers to announce further monetary easing.
The resilience of U.S. shares ... suggests investor sentiment remained strong because they link bad data to the chance of the Fed's QE, Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities, told Reuters.
Data from China were also not encouraging as official data showed that manufacturing activity in the world's second-largest economy slowed further in June. Meanwhile, unemployment rose to a new record high in the euro zone countries, with the rate of unemployment up to 11.1 percent in May. Manufacturing activities declined for the 11th consecutive month in June, suggesting that the region's economy ended the second quarter on a weaker footing and with higher chances that the European Central Bank would cut its main refinancing rate when its governing council meets Thursday.
We continue to forecast a 25bp cut in the ECB's main refinancing rate at its regular policy meeting on 5 July. If anything, the justification for a rate cut looks even stronger today, on a fundamental ground, compared to one or two months ago, said a note from Credit Agricole.
Japanese shares advanced, led by gains from financial and exporter companies. Japan's benchmark Nikkei gained 0.70 percent or 63.11 points to 9,066.59. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 3.16 percent and Canon Inc gained 1.27 percent while Nikon Corp surged 3.06 percent.
Chinese shares ended higher as gains from banking and property developers offset declines in automaker stocks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.51 percent or 294.07 points to 19,735.53 and Chinese Shanghai advanced 0.14 percent or 3.08 points to 2,229.19.
Among the stocks, HSBC Holdings Plc gained 1.39 percent and China Resources Land Ltd. advanced 2.91 percent in Hong Kong while Dongfeng Motor Group plunged 4.37 percent and Great Wall Motor fell 2.47 percent.
South Korean KOSPI Composite rose 0.87 percent or 16.17 points to 1867.82 and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex advanced 0.40 percent or 70.18 points to 17,469.16. KEC Holdings Co Ltd climbed 14.71 percent and LG Electronics Inc gained 3.61 percent in Seoul. Essar Oil Ltd climbed 5.63 percent and Idea Cellular surged 4.5 percent in India.