Asian stock markets were mostly higher Thursday, as fears over a slowing Chinese economy eased slightly despite disappointing data from the country's manufacturing and services sectors.
Official data from China showed the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose slightly to 49.8 -- up from 49.7 in August -- the sector contracted for the second consecutive month -- indicated by a number below 50. However, the private Caixin China Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey reported that conditions in China’s manufacturing sector deteriorated “at the sharpest rate since March 2009,” while the country's services sector also took a hit.
“It is still pretty gloomy with regards to China, but I think we're still in a ‘Goldilocks’ environment. We still have supportive monetary policy around the world,” Harry Shann, an investment manager at U.K.’s Logic Investments, told Reuters.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which had floundered earlier this week, closed up 1.9 percent, despite a Bank of Japan survey that showed worsening business sentiment for the first time in three quarters. China and Hong Kong markets were closed for national holidays.
India’s benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up about 0.25 percent while the larger Nifty Index ended flat, holding on to modest gains made during early trade. South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 closed up 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.
In Europe too, markets traded higher -- following the release of solid U.S. private sector jobs data and gains in the U.S. equity markets -- after trudging through a bruising third quarter. The pan-European STOXX 600 was trading up 1 percent, buoyed by a rebound in mining and automotive stocks. London’s FTSE 100 was up 1.4 percent, Germany’s DAX traded 0.3 percent higher, while France’s CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent.
U.S. stock futures also indicated strong gains for Wall Street at the open, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow futures all up nearly 1 percent.
“The market was squeezed and this is facilitating a rebound, while a stronger dollar is also helping, although it’s too early to say if risk appetite has returned,” Ifigest fund manager Roberto Lottici told Reuters.