Asian shares mostly higher despite soft China factory data

Shares were mostly higher in Asia early Tuesday after an upbeat day on Wall Street. Weaker than expected China manufacturing data appeared to have a muted impact.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.7 percent, helped by a weaker yen which boosts profits for manufacturers. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.3 percent to 24,678.44 and South Korea's Kospi jumped 0.9 percent to 2,224.81. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.6 percent to 5,922.20 and the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.4 percent to 3,143.51. Shares were higher in Taiwan and mixed in Southeast Asia.

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CHINA MANUFACTURING: The Caixin China purchasing managers survey found Chinese factories slowed production and slashed jobs in April as new orders weakened. The index fell to 50.3 from 51.2 in March, on a scale of 0-100 with readings above 50 indicating expansion. An official survey released earlier showed the same trend. "The latest PMI readings support our view that growth in China peaked at the turn of the year and is now decelerating," Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose Monday as big technology companies like Apple continued to rally. Investors bought stocks and sold bonds and gold after Congress agreed to a deal that will keep the government operating for the rest of the fiscal year, averting a shutdown, so they bought riskier stocks and sold government bonds, gold, and high-dividend stocks. The VIX, an index that is seen as a measure of the market's anxiety level, fell to its lowest level since February 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 0.2 percent to 2,388.33. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.1 percent to 20,913.46 as Boeing and IBM lagged. Gains for tech companies pushed the Nasdaq composite up 0.7 percent to 6,091.60, another record high.

U.S. GOVERNMENT SPENDING: The House is due to vote Wednesday on a spending bill that would fund most government operations through September. The bill does not include the border wall President Donald Trump has proposed, and rejects his proposed cuts to popular domestic programs.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "After all the political events were settled, at least temporarily, the market focus now turns to corporate earnings season. So far, over 80 percent of the S&P 500 companies have announced positive surprises in their first-quarter earnings," said Margaret Yang of CMC Markets Singapore.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 8 cents to $48.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 49 cents, or 1 percent, to $48.84 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 5 cents to $51.47 a barrel. It declined 53 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.52 a barrel in London.

GOLD: The price of gold fell $12.80, or 1 percent, to $1,255.50 an ounce, reflecting greater appetite for risk and less for safe havens.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.87 yen from 111.84 yen. The euro advanced to $1.0911 from $1.0898.


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