Asian shares mixed as gloomy data casts doubt on recovery hopes
Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday, while safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese Yen remained steady as the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States dampened recovery hopes from stronger-than-expected factory activity in China.
The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.2% with Chinese blue chips leading with a 0.8% rise.
Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.8%, while European futures traded slightly in the red, with S&P futures slipping by 0.5%.
Market risk sentiment was bolstered after China signaled that its factories were gradually picking up steam, with the Caixin/Markit PMI rising to 51.2 compared with the forecasted 50.5.
However, sentiment soured after the United States reported its biggest single-day surge of new COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began. The spike has forced states like California, Texas, and Florida to close recently reopened bars in the last few days. Meanwhile, Australia has implemented a lockdown in Melbourne, its second-largest city in a bid to prevent a similar surge in new cases.
Investors are currently eyeing the U.S. manufacturing data due to be released at 1400 GMT in order to gauge the expectancy of an economic recovery. U.S. non-farm payrolls data are also awaited to be released on Thursday.