Asian stock markets mostly advanced Thursday as the encouraging economic data from the U.S. and China buoyed sentiment.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei surged 1.13 percent or 100.90 points to 9,055.20, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.21 percent or 46.45 points to 21,810.23 and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.55 percent or 10.54 points to 1,924.50 while Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.68 percent or 14.41 points to 2,101.58 and India's BSE Sensex gained 0.21 percent.
Market sentiment turned positive Wednesday after the official data showed that the new home sales in the U.S. last month jumped to the highest level in the last two years and a private sector survey showed that Chinese manufacturing PMI rose closer to expansionary territory.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s new home sales data, which measures the annualized number of new single-family homes that were sold during the previous month, rose 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000 in September, the highest level since April 2010. The data also topped the economists’ estimate of 385,000 level and suggests that the world’s largest economy is regaining the growth momentum.
Sentiment was also supported after the HSBC survey showed that manufacturing in China was improving. The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a measure of the nation-wide manufacturing, gained to 49.1 in October from September’s final reading of 47.9. The data along with recent economic reports eased worries about a sharp growth slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
However, the upward move was limited as the concern over the current corporate earnings continued to weigh on the sentiment. Tepid corporate earnings and a defensive U.S. Federal Reserve offset the better-than-expected housing data and sent the U.S. stocks into negative territory Wednesday.
At the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, which concluded Thursday, the U.S. Federal Reserve noted that growth for the U.S. remains moderate, but there is a marginal increase in the household spending in line with the recent improved Retail Sales and Housing data.
"I think markets are near their bottom or are bottoming out but investors are still not confident whether to trust positive indicators, putting a cap on prices," Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo-based commodities fund manager at Astmax Investment, told Reuters.
Japanese shares advanced, led by gains from exporter companies on weaker yen. The yen declined to the four month low on speculation that the Bank of Japan will opt to ease monetary conditions when its policy board next meets Oct 30. Nissan Motor Co Ltd. gained 1.88 percent and Canon Inc. advanced 2.24 percent while KDDI Corp. surged 5.46 percent and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. surged 4.35 percent.
Wynn Macau Ltd. gained 2.77 percent and Sands China Ltd. surged 3.14 percent in Hong Kong while Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. declined 1.99 percent and Guizhou Panjiang Refined Coal tumbled 9.33 percent in Shanghai.
South Korean shares pared earlier losses and ended with gains after Hyundai Motor Co reported the third quarter earnings in line with estimates. Hyundai Motor surged 3.9 percent after the company reported that its third quarter net profit rose 13 percent to $1.97 billion compared to same period last year. Kia Motors Corp. surged 5.77 percent and Hyundai Mobis gained 2.69 percent while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. advanced 1.69 percent.